How to Combat Video Call Fatigue

Do you ever feel absolutely worn out and agitated by the thought of another video call? Do video catchups leave you feeling drained? You’re not alone.

“Zoom Fatigue” or “Video Call Fatigue” refers to the exhaustion you feel while participating in video calls. Simply put, in a video call, the only way you can seem like you are listening is to look into your screen for the whole duration of the call. Visual breaks are very important for our brain to refocus and if we don’t provide it with these breaks, it grows fatigued.

We know this sounds scary, but if you’ve experienced any sort of video call fatigue lately, here are 6 tips that can make these calls a bit less exhausting –  

#1 It doesn’t really have to be a video call

The first factor we need to proactively think about is whether this can be done over a phone call or email.  Processing information verbally is a lot easier than processing audio and video simultaneously.

The rules to keep in mind are very simple. Video calls are great if you’re having a 1:1 with your colleague, you have to give critical feedback or if it’s going to take more than 10 emails to figure out the solution to a problem. If it doesn’t fall in the realm of any of these, it’s time to reconsider!

#2 Don’t schedule back-to-back video calls

Doing too much of anything is harmful. And it’s no different with video calls. Spread your calls throughout the day. This way, you are giving your brain some time to process information and you’ll be able to do justice to all your calls.

In addition to this, make sure you stay hydrated and you’re stretching at least a couple of times a day. Being online all day can be very depersonalising, so give yourself some time to restore that energy before every call.

#3 Give yourself an eye break

Digital eye strain and video call fatigue are the two sides of the same coin. Give your eyes a bit of a break by looking away from your screens for just a couple of seconds.

You can try the 20-20-20 technique – Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will allow your eyes to refocus and reduce strain on them. Trying to consciously blink will moisten your eyes and reduce dryness.

#4 Keep it short

Just like how you would not have 2 hour-long meetings in the office without breaks, 2-hour long video calls should also be avoided. If you have to have these long meetings, give your teammates a chance to grab water or even use the bathroom in between.

Consider bringing your team together by having daily huddles for 15 minutes every morning to discuss what you have going on for the day. This way, you will eliminate numerous unnecessary calls with your team and save you from that video chat fatigue!

#5 Beware of sounds

Unexpected sounds cause a physical stress reaction in our brains and snatch up the entirety of our focus. Be aware of the noises you make unknowingly, or the sounds that are generated around you. Tapping keys, swallowing, eating crunchy snacks or that coffee slurp can have a very uncomfortable effect on the ones listening.

There isn’t much you can do about the noises happening in your environment, but you can always switch to headphone microphones to mask them.

#6 Try not to multi-task

Yes, we know how stressful it can feel when you have a lot of work and only 8 hours to complete it. Trying to fit in mundane tasks while on a call, can hurt both your performance and your health. Because different parts of your brain are responsible for different types of work, abruptly switching on and off can make you 40% less productive!

Don’t check your emails or your messages while you’re on a video call. Remind yourself to stay present and that everything can wait for an additional 10 minutes. This way you will be fair to your teammates and be able to draft better responses when you get off that call.

If you like this blog, we also wrote about how to focus and unwind while working from home in our previous blogs. Check it out!