Prevent a 'Zoom burnout' with these tips

HR/learning in organisations
26/11/2020

Have you been getting tired and exhausted lately? Are you dreading yet another video call? Make sure you're not a victim of the infamous “Zoom burnout”!

Congratulations! You just became part of an historic milestone. Indeed, at the beginning of this year, it turned out to be the start of a whole new era: that of digital transformation and social distancing.

In just a few weeks, life around the world went through a major revolution. And you were just there!

We can imagine you're not cheering at our words of encouragement. Because, like billions of others, your participation in this change was by no means voluntary. The virus, whose name we don't really want to mention anymore, put entire families under lock and key.

Turned offices into ghost towns and hospitals into horror movies. And the end is still not in sight. Again and again, a new source of fire flares up somewhere in the world.

There are cautious whispers that the vaccine is on the way. But when and if there is enough of it is not yet clear.

Do you catch yourself in a despondent sigh reading this? Does your battery seem to have stopped charging lately, even though the nights spent at the pub are a long time ago? That's not surprising.

Because our lives have changed so much in such a short time that our brain can't keep up. Even people who were not directly victims of the vicious virus are now at risk of dying indirectly after all these months.

Depression, exhaustion, stress and insomnia are spreading across the globe like an oil slick.

A common complaint is the draining of energy for so long video calls. We used to be able to dose our attention better: by occasionally staring outside with impunity during a live meeting, playing with a pen, or pouring a cup of coffee. Moreover, we knew that we could move back to our own desk after the meeting. We always recharged in between.

5 tips to prevent a 'Zoom burnout'

Now we are glued to the same monitor in the same room for hours. And every wrinkle and mascara smear comes into the picture many times over. Personal life and work mercilessly intertwine and there is a minimum of personal space.

Of course, that doesn't make us happy. However, there are tricks to limit the damage somewhat. Time to throw some practical tips your way, to prevent a real 'Zoom burnout'!

1. From Muppetshow to Speakerview

All those little faces on top of each other on the screen: it looks suspiciously like the opening song of the old Muppet show.

At first, it seemed funny and we were still curious about our manager's living room, the secretary's baby and your colleague's cat. Now, all those talking heads only distract from what it's really about during a meeting.

Our brain is working twice as hard to cope with such a video meeting. Your gray cells still try to register all non-verbal signals that are not visible at the moment.

That may still be doable with one interlocutor, but if there are fifteen at the same time, it is almost impossible to handle.

Give your brain a little rest in these already turbulent times. Switch from “Muppetshow” to speakerview. It really makes a difference if you only have to observe the person talking. Do agree that, if you also want to say something, you will raise a virtual hand and wait until you get the floor.

2. Old school phone calls

We can even go one step further in taking a break for your brain. Why not even turn off video mode or, act wild, old school going to talk on the phone?

You know, just noise in your ears and nothing else.

This can be a relief, especially when it comes to a 1-on-1 meeting.

Old-fashioned calling gives you the freedom to occasionally look at the ceiling, walk around the room or maybe even hang up the laundry without your interlocutor noticing.

You don't have to monitor faces or shared documents, just listen to what the other person says. And let's be honest, that's often more than enough!

3. Build in switching time

Now that we're not bothered by travel time, it's very easy to fall into a new pitfall: cluttering up your agenda with one digital meeting after another.

Before you know it, you'll only have 9 hours of meetings in a day of “office time” and you'll even be chewing your sandwich behind the screen in the afternoon.

Watch out! You really have 'switching time'necessary between one meeting and the next. Normally, the body and mind recovered during the car trip back to the office, or even a short walk from one floor to the other was enough to reset.

Now you sit almost motionless on the same chair, at the same table. That certainly does not improve your concentration and health.

It is smart to plan at least fifteen minutes, preferably half an hour, between meetings.

Have a cup of coffee in the garden, vacuum or wash the dishes. You can also fool yourself by walking outside the block during that time to “travel” to a new meeting in your head.

The knife then cuts both ways: not only do you relax, you also get a little bit of vitamin D, which works wonders for your immune system.

4. Social media off

It had been every psychologist's advice for some time if an overworked patient entered the practice. Try to switch off all non-natural stimuli as much as possible. That means limiting your screen time: minimise computer and television use.

But also (and that will take some getting used to for many people): block all social media.

The pimped up stories on Facebook, but also all the negativity surrounding corona, crash into your head non-stop if you're not careful.

You really don't get the hang of that! Moreover, social media also appears to have an addictive effect.

You get the urge to always comment on posts, and also post things yourself. Stop. Don't do it. Just take a break from everything. The world is already busy enough!

5. Research what can be done live

Unless you or your roommate just tested positive, no one said you should be glued to your home 24/7.

So think outside the box. Does that meeting necessarily have to take place behind a screen? Isn't it actually much more refreshing to meet up with your colleague at a nearby park or beach?

Choose a quiet time so you can easily maintain a safe distance from each other and bystanders.

While walking, you often come up with more creative ideas. And you'll notice that the combination of outdoor air and real personal contact provides a lot of energy again.

Need more ideas?

At Pluvo, of course, we really love online opportunities. But we also like to keep it energetic and healthy for everyone. There are also useful apps and solutions for that. We have more tips in that area. So feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to think along with you!

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