Zoom fatigue: 5 ways to combat virtual meeting exhaustion

zoom fatigue monitor

While many have acclimated to working, meeting and chatting with colleagues, friends and family virtually, some have found this new normal wearying, almost to the point of exhaustion.

This phenomenon, also called “Zoom fatigue,” is when your energy has been sapped due to multiple hours or days of video meetings with your personal and professional connections. Zoom fatigue is real, and it’s draining for those continuing their work and social engagements under shelter-in-place orders.

Virtual meetings do not offer the same experience as in-person meetings but have become a necessity for leaders who need an effective way to connect and collaborate with their groups. Vistage’s Learning and Development team offers the following tips for taking a more balanced approach to your daily digital interactions.


1. Take frequent breaks

Studies show that 75 to 90 minutes of focused work, followed by a 15-minute break, results in less fatigue and higher productivity. Take a proper lunch break of 45 minutes to an hour as you would when working in the office. Make it a best practice to walk away from your desk to do any self-care activity that will reenergize you—stretch your legs, do an exercise routine, meditate, play with your dog, make a healthy lunch, or take a walk to breath in fresh air.

2. Adjust your work environment

Sitting all day can have a variety of adverse effects on your health, while movement increases your energy and improves your mood. Set up work areas that allow you to alternate between sitting and standing during your meetings. A change in scenery can also help reset and refresh your mind—try working in a different room or sitting at a table outside for a change in your working environment.

3. Maintain your routine outside of work hours

Sticking to your personal routine is so important during this time. Whether it is your workout or meal times, following your typical after-work schedule helps you refuel. It can be easy to blur the lines between work and personal downtime—consider scheduling it into your day to ensure you dedicate time for replenishing yourself.

4. Avoid multitasking 

Science shows us that splitting our attention across multiple activities is taxing on the brain and often causes people to be less productive. Attempting to multitask requires more energy and is less efficient for the body. Focus your attention on one work task at a time. It will prove more effective over the course of your day. Also, try focusing on the meeting call versus typing or reading emails as you listen. You’ll remain engaged with the other participants, increase your understanding of the conversation and better retain the details.

5. Switch to phone calls

Video calls are an excellent way to create a face-to-face interaction, but when you need a break from video meetings, arrange a phone call. A phone call eliminates several issues that cause fatigue, including minimizing your amount of screen time and reducing visual stimuli. Try calling into your next meeting using your phone so you have freedom to move around, walk while you talk, stretch or stand outside.

“Zoom fatigue” can become a challenge for those who have to spend a lot of time in virtual meetings or on video-chatting apps. By paying attention to when you feel drained and practicing some of the above tips, you can reduce fatigue and get a much-needed break from the screen.


Category: Wellness

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About the Author: Michaelle Knight

Dr. Michaelle H. Knight is Director, Learning and Development at Vistage, the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize businesses.

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