Video Call Fatigue
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it many changes and one of those is the sharp increase in working from home.
According to the www.ons.gov.uk website, In the month of April 2020, it was estimated that almost half of people in UK employment worked from home. This is a huge increase from the 5% who are usually home workers. Many people have reported feeling even more fatigued than usual, even though they haven’t attended face to face meetings, but why is this? Surely sitting in front of your laptop shouldn’t take more concentration? But it does, so let’s find out why…
Believe it or not, video calls require more focus than face to face meetings as we have to work harder to process nonverbal cues and interpret body language. This uses up more of our energy and can be made even harder when experiencing infamous ‘technical difficulties’. Delays and technical issues cause frustration to the best of us, but even more so when we are spending countless hours on Zoom!
According to a German study in 2014, a delay of even up to 1.2 seconds can cause us to create negative views of the other party!
It’s me, not you
Unfortautnely (or fortunately) when on a video call we can see ourselves in that small little box in the corner, something we don’t usually see in a face to face meeting. Seeing ourselves throughout the call can cause us to become extremely self-aware and often we will subconsciously show that we are paying attention with over the top reactions and forced eye contact! (Exhausting)!
When home working and video calling, it’s very difficult to set boundaries. Even those who work from home most of the time report this, as your personal space has now become the office. Many are working from home with their children and partners there, this is something that we are not used to. Where do we spend our time? Should we make the most of this opportunity for family time or should we crack on and get the job done? It seems it’s not only employers who are utilizing video chat, but family and friend online quizzes have also been hugely popular! It isn’t uncommon that adults in the UK are spending hours in front of Zoom every day, cramming in as much as possible. But this is not sustainable!
This lack of social downtime creeps upon us, it can make us feel deflated, fatigued, and stressed.
It’s hard trying to find a balance because video calls are amazing things! We can sit face to face with someone from the comfort of our homes and see them in real-time! They create amazing opportunities and yes we should be grateful that technology is so brilliant, but we must remember to take care of ourselves…
Sadly video calls can also be a stark reminder that our realities have changed, at least for the moment. They can remind us that we are no longer socializing the way we use to, we aren’t sharing stories with colleagues and having that all-important human contact.
The all-important breaks
Yes, we know taking a break may seem extremely obvious, but let me ask you…are you taking breaks in between clients, or are you trying to cram in your day so you can finish early?
Yes, I thought so. It’s so valuable to your wellbeing to take at least a 5-minute break in between Zoom calls, use this time to stand up, stretch, rehydrate or even go outside for a few minutes. Those little minutes away from the screen is enough to wake up your brain and refocus you for the next meeting.
Finding the right workspace for you
How’s your back? Are you sat in bed working? This too needs to stop! You need to find a suitable working space, preferably in a quiet room with a desk you can sit at. Having a bit of peace sounds out of the question for some, but you need to have a little area that feels like yours. Working in bedrooms should be a last resort, that is your area of rest, not work. It’s important to focus on your posture and your eyes should be level to the screen.
Take a look at this short and informative YouTube video for more information.
Set days of video calls
Another tip that you should try to stick to, is to have set days of video calls. For example, if Monday’s and Friday’s are your admin days, you’ll keep Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday for video calls. This gives you 2 days away from the camera, and a chance to recharge your batteries.
Saying no to video calls
And sometimes, it really is about saying no. If you’re overwhelmed with the video calls, maybe you could suggest a telephone call, or reschedule for another day. It’s so important that you look after yourself especially in these uncertain times.