Background to Zoom Fatigue
( skip to the bottom of the article if you want to get straight to the tips!)
A rising phenomenon that I have noticed during this pandemic is finding myself on back to back Zoom calls, webinars and Microsoft meetings. These have been on weekday evenings and sometimes even weekends.
Prior to COVID, if you had a learning event that you wanted to attend, you would factor in all the limitations: like the journey time needed to get there and how feasible it would be to attend after work. If there was more than one, the likelihood of you being able to attend multiple events on one evening would be low.
However, now we have entered a whole new realm. From the comfort of your own home, you can now participate in multiple webinars, multiple Zoom and Microsoft team meetings. The fact that there is no geography to manoeuvre, means that you can hop from call to call.
The main downside I have noticed is Zoom/Conference call fatigue. I was not entirely sure if I was being facetious when this term first popped into my head. But within a few clicks I could see that it was an emerging phenomenon that many have started writing about.
See the links to two articles below:
https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200623-what-the-dutch-can-teach-the-world-about-remote-work . Some of the reasons the article cites include: the feeling of being watched and delays in the video making it seem like you are unfriendly / unresponsive. I have to say that I can definitely relate to the latter.
https://ideas.ted.com/zoom-fatigue-is-real-heres-why-video-calls-are-so-draining/. This article also talks about the fact that looking at your own face can be stressful and how the loss of non verbal communication can be a real issue.
What does this mean for budding medical students, the new junior doctor and busy trainee? The two articles above elude to the fact that we need to be taking active steps to combat Zoom fatigue.
So welcome to our 5 Top Tips on combating Zoom Fatigue aka preventing getting Zoomed out!
1. Plan Ahead:
Keep a Conference call diary. Lots of events are popping up daily, it is worth keeping a list of calls you might like to attend. Putting them in the diary and then trying to prioritise which ones you might like to attend. Knowing when these calls will happen is much better than having join a call spontaneously which can be stressful.
2. Schedule breaks between Calls.
It is really easy to just sit there and find yourself on call after call. If you are going to go on more than one call, then it is advisable to have some snacks or food prepared. Therefore allowing you some time to grab a quick bite.
3. Watch playbacks of webinars instead.
If a webinar is going to be recorded, then it may be worth making time at a later date when you haven’t had a busy day at work and are more relaxed to watch the webinar. This is really good for reducing stress levels and can make it easier to actually help you get the most out of a learning opportunity .
4. Limit the number of Zoom Calls a day.
It may helpful to have a set limit on the number of zoom calls you plan to attend in an evening or a day.
5. Have some Zoom Calls without video and keep them short!.
Given that the articles above stated that feeling watched during a zoom call can be quite stressful. It may be worth pre-agreeing to have video turned off if you are meeting with people you know or friends. Of course, it is helpful to keep the mic on intermittently, so that you can chip into to parts of conversation and people can see that you are still alert and interested.
In summary Zoom fatigue is real and should not be underestimated. During these times it is particularly important to guard our wellbeing. Therefore, please take the steps necessary to do this and if you need to take a break. As the advert says, go on ‘ have a break , have a Kit Kat !’
Best Wishes the MR Revision Team.
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