Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash
Remote work has taken the world by storm due to the coronavirus. After some weeks, people have started to feel more and more “Zoom fatigue.” Indeed, video calls all day long drain your energy like crazy.
Guess what? There’s no need to spend your day on Zoom, Google Meet, or whatever videoconference software. You need to communicate asynchronously to make remote work happen. And if you need meetings, there are ways to make them efficient for everyone. Let’s see right away how you can do so.
Get rid of useless meetings
monday.com, a remote work software has conducted a research on teams transitioning to remote. They found out that over half of employees (59%) said they have more meetings since transitioning to remote work, even if you’re supposed to communicate more asynchronously. The result? 31% of the employees believe remote work is challenging and it prevents them from maintaining a fast pace of work.
Excessive meetings is a serious problem. It might seem obvious, but the best way to reduce Zoom fatigue is to participate in meetings less. If you need to give updates, trust me, a written message will be enough. On top of that, people who have technical issues will be able to read your words.
When you work remotely, meetings should be the last resort. If you have a question, write it. If you need to discuss a feature, write your thoughts down. When to start a video call, then? In case of emergencies, when you need to address complex situations or when you need to give critical feedback. It’s not easy for everyone to get on the remote train, and focusing has never been more complicated. Asynchronous communication is a way to boost your productivity as a remote worker.
Take breaks and disable your video
The reason why a video call is more exhausting than a real meeting is that you need to focus more than if you were in a real meeting, you need to pay more attention. On top of that, by enabling your video, you know anyone can see you. That’s subtle, but it puts more pressure on you.
You can fix it by taking regular breaks during your meetings and by disabling the video. I did it last week, and honestly, it felt good.
Have an agenda, define actions and write summaries
If you need to have a meeting, it’s okay, but make them productive. First, have an agenda. Your meetings should be time-constrained and have a purpose. If it starts by “Okay, so what should we discuss today?”, I’m pretty sure your next hour is going to be unproductive.
At the end of your meeting, define actions. It’ll make sure you won’t have to get involved in yet another video call for the same reason. People should be clear about what they need to do after the meeting.
Finally, write summaries. It’s easy to get lost on what you’ve done or not to recall why you had this meeting. It takes less than 15 minutes, and you can even keep other members of your team updated. Your meetings should involve only those who need to be involved, and that brings me to the next tip.
Involve only essential participants
There’s nothing worse to be involved in a meeting and feeling like you’ve been useless the whole time. Sometimes, I hear or see people who say, “Let’s invite him just in case.” No, please, no. It’s a waste of time.
If you need to have someone’s expertise on a subject, gather the information beforehand, or write to them. If you think someone’s need to be in the meeting to keep up to date, write a summary and post the info somewhere, as said above.
If you feel like you don’t see the point of the meeting in the first ten minutes, ask if there’s a reason you’re here and, if not, leave.
Zoom fatigue is real. It’s easy to get lost in this ocean of meetings, feeling like you’ve done nothing and yet being exhausted. I’ll repeat it, remote work is about asynchronous communication, and it’s not entirely compatible with the synchronous nature of meetings. So, remember, meetings are not always necessary. Take breaks, and don’t hesitate to disable your video. Make meetings productive by having an agenda, defining actions, and writing summaries. Finally, involve only these who need to be involved.