Online Woes: How to combat video call fatigue

September 28, 2020 12:20 AM

As the lines between work and home blur, employees are left feeling drained towards the end of the day. Here are four ways to prevent video conferencing fatigue

This communication overload is resulting in employees feeling drained at the end of the day.This communication overload is resulting in employees feeling drained at the end of the day.

By Bhavin Turakhia

While working from home has been a sought-after perk for some employees, we have entered a new reality of frequent online meetings and an inability to disconnect from the job, which has created a new stressor, known as communication fatigue.

Today, with the array of communication and conferencing platforms available, employees are continuously connected virtually with their colleagues, seniors, clients and more. The concept of ‘workplace burnout’ has taken an all-new meaning, with employees having to deal with virtual communication fatigue. This communication overload is resulting in employees feeling drained at the end of the day.

Four ways to identify and prevent video conferencing fatigue:
Virtual time off: It can be tempting for employees to schedule back-to-back meetings to get through the day quicker, but doing so can cause signs of fatigue to appear earlier than expected. While most of us take the support of caffeine to look and sound fresh, it can only do so much when up against enldless virtual meetings.

The cure is simple: Taking breaks at regular intervals will help you to recharge before the next call appointment and allow for extra planning so the next interaction goes as effortlessly as the last one. And your break doesn’t have to involve sitting at your home workstation! An effective break should include moving around to get your blood flowing and introduce a change of scenery. Talk to your family members, quickly whip up a salad or just take a power nap!

Set a deadline & create an itinerary for every video call
Too much talk can cause meetings to go longer than planned. To prevent this, create an itinerary ahead of time. By scheduling minutes and other talking points, your meetings will run effortlessly while also limiting everyone’s virtual time to prevent communication fatigue.

Block your front camera view, it’s okay
One of the biggest contributors to video call fatigue is keeping the self-view feature open during meetings. Self-view induces a feeling of anxiety; worried about how we look, sound, or what’s going on with the lighting and background.

To prevent any sort of communication fatigue from self-view, simply turn off the camera feature whenever you’re not presenting or not expected to talk. If you’re worried about how you’ll look on camera, open up your camera app before a meeting to make any last-minute adjustments, test the lighting, or make a quick location change. If closing the self-view isn’t possible on the platform you’re using, you can block it off by taping a piece of paper.

Notification fatigue
Notification overload can have unfavourable effects on effective decision-making and collaboration of employees. Employees must not necessarily be expected to respond to all the messages they receive each day unless it’s extremely important.

On the other hand, for managers, they can set up a general rule that quick questions are posed via messenger, but bigger issues that require more thinking/ strategising time are sent via email. Set timelines so that people know when a response is needed and follow up on critical questions after a set amount of time.

The writer is founder & CEO at Flock, a workplace collaboration platform.

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