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April 27, 2020

Combating Video Conference Fatigue While Working from Home


As many of us enter week six or seven of working remotely, it's amazing to think about all that’s changed – and how much we’re adapting. One of the biggest changes for us and even our clients is the significant increase in video conferencing. While it’s becoming more commonplace, it doesn’t take away from the fact that frequent video meetings are still new to many of us. And with any new routine or skill, it can be draining until it truly becomes second nature.

Video Conference Fatigue While Working from Home Is Real

BBC recently published a fascinating article that addresses what’s been dubbed, “Zoom fatigue,” and why many of us may be experiencing it. The piece recognizes the similarities between video conference and face-to-face communication and further examines just why face-to-face over video is psychologically different (and flexes new muscles) than sitting across the table from someone.

Why? The short answer is there’s simply more to worry about. Technology times out, the screen freezes, or there’s a delay in the stream. All of these factors can trigger feelings of panic or worry, it causes us to read into body language different and ultimately, makes it more challenging to be present.

How to Combat Video Conference Fatigue and Be More Present

With this new reality comes new skills to work on. My advice to you, if you’re experiencing video meeting fatigue, is to do your best to not sweat the small stuff. Wifi connections will stall, topics may need to be covered twice, or your child might walk into the room to ask a question. I think if we give each other – and ourselves – some grace, we can then begin to learn how to be even more present. Which who knows, might even translate to face-to-face situations when we’re together in the same room again. Can you imagine a day where we’re so present, our phones stay in our pockets at dinner and we’re not distracted by email in meetings?

Acclimating to the challenges of video conferencing will take time, and the exhaustion is likely to decrease as people feel more comfortable with it and the challenges it brings.

What’s one thing, if you thought about it differently, would help you be even more present (and less drained) on video conferences?

—David Grossman

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