‘Zoom fatigue’ was a noted phenomenon as early as April 2020. It shares some flaws with face to face meets and many solutions are the same - less meets, shorter meets, better structures, more decisive leaders.
In the early days we countered this with playing with the functionality such as novelty settings (appearing as little heads in cinema rows, backgrounds, filtering your appearance) and tried for as much interactivity as possible to keep everyone awake and slightly more engaged. Presenters appeared to be in spaceships or at the beach. Some even had their face wander the page to emphasise a line when they shared a deck.
The novelty quickly wore off and then children and pets became a welcome distraction. No meeting was complete without a child yelling, as they ran past, 'Die Draco Malfoy!’ or asking to show you their LEGO model. Kids are clever, they have only to make a small noise while Mum or Dad are trying to appear professional and the Disney channel will go on. Meanwhile everyone’s osteopath bill went up as we spent all day in the one chair.
If you are interested in measuring your own Zoom fatigue, you can take the Stanford Zoom Exhaustion and Fatigue Scale survey and participate in the research project.
It is obvious that there will be more flexible working after this. One CEO told me she had previously been very against home working, feeling it would not be as productive and that people would find it hard to separate business and home, but discovered it was possible to run an agency from her living room and has become a convert. This will mean virtual calls with some at the office and some at home. This will add to the meeting complexity with "hybrid meetings" - half virtual meetings, half face-to-face in the office. Here it will be important to make sure that the virtual members will have a real presence in the room.
What is the best solution to zoom fatigue? It is the same as tiredness with any meeting - have less or go to less, make them tighter and make simple decisions faster. We offer a range of courses and events to help you with all aspects of self- and team-development, such as coping with change and bringing your team back into the office.How to create a good working environment, 29 April 10am - 11:30am