Zoom fatigue is probably not a medical term, but it's real. In this new work from home world that we are ALL living in, Zoom has become part of our new normal...or new abnormal.
Instead of meetings in physical conference rooms, we are now forced to join work activities from the sanctity of our private homes, bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. Even if you frequently worked from home, video calls were not a normal part of work culture. Sure, there may have been the occasional Skype meeting, but meetings were typically conducted via conference call or some web hosted platform like WebEx. In todays new world, things are very different. Now, the noisy girl from down the aisle that talks really loud about her drunken debauchery filled weekends, is a frequent face on your laptop screen, peering at your background to ask what color your pillows are. Not to mention your manager, who until Zoom calls, you didn't even know was married or had kids. And let us not forget the creepy guy who hangs out in the breakroom, but never seems to grab coffee. This random cast of characters are no longer limited to being just voices on your phone, but they are now faces on your laptop, looking and interacting with you in your bedroom or on your sofa. It's definitely weird. But it's not just us, it's our kids too. First they were out of school longer than expected, and now they are in school, but still at home, but in school lol. Many parents have yet to adjust. Teachers are struggling to make sure students are engaged and parents are respectful of the school day. And it's all to hell in a bicycle basket...(this video brought me joy...and horrified me).
All jokes aside...Zoom fatigue is real. We are exhausted. We've lost all privacy and it feels like the sanctity of our homes has been compromised. I've been thinking about this for a while and as exhausted as I am..I've also been thinking about how to evolve and make this transition a little easier for me and my family. So let's talk about these 4 simple tips to managing Zoom fatigue.
Camera On/Camera Off - So, I know management wants us to try to connect during this pandemic and Zoom is the new preferred choice. But if you are NOT speaking, go ahead and give yourself a camera break. Turn the video off if you can. You're probably going to be part of more than on video call per day, so when possible give yourself a visual break and turn your video off.
Preserve Your Personal Space - Zoom has customizable backgrounds, which are cool. They can alter your physical background and come in handy especially if your taking calls from your bedroom, or in a shared space like a living room that make shifts as a classroom. This will make sure that you are not giving undeserved access to your intimate personal spaces.
Get comfortable - Depending on the number of calls you are on each day, make sure your space is comfortable. Don't be afraid to switch it up...for instance, if you are taking calls in your home, try sitting on your porch or in your backyard. A change of scenery might be less painful and might help to make the time pass a little faster.
Don't Forget To Connect With People Off-Screen - Zoom is no substitution for human touch and connection. We need that connection. It's part of what makes life worth living. Yes, I understand that we are in the middle of a pandemic, but the loss of human touch and connection, the absence of seeing our friends and family...it's all part of the fatigue. So it's important that we make sure we are interacting with those close to us...safely. Keeping in mind that protection of our older relatives, please...drive by to see those you love. It does something for their hearts and I know it will bless yours too!!
We have so many adjustments we need to make as we continue into our future. Trust me, if you've made it this far, you can continue to adjust and grow. If you are still employed, be grateful for the opportunity. But by all means, take care of yourself during this time. Acknowledge how you are feeling and the things that contribute to your experience. Remember, just because you are working from home, it's still YOUR home. Set some boundaries so that your sacred peaceful spaces, remain as such. Protect your peace and your mental health. You have permission!!
As always...these are my thoughts.