Here’s something to think about: Even the Chief Executive Officer of Zoom, Eric Yuan, says he’s sick of holding virtual meetings. The head of the virtual meeting company recently told the Wall Street Journal that he couldn’t wait to get back to having in-person meetings with his staff after recently sitting through 19 (19!) Zooms in a row.
We’ve never had that many Zooms back to back, but we agree with Mr. Yuan. We’re tired of Zooms.
At first, it was fun seeing everyone’s pets and children during virtual meetings. But virtual meetings can’t replace the connection you build from meeting someone for lunch or attending a meeting where you hash out a problem over coffee.
The good news is, things continue to reopen, and it appears we’ll be back to face to face meetings soon enough. In the meantime, we’ve come up with some ideas for treating — maybe even curing — your Zoom fatigue.
1. Ask Yourself, Could This Meeting Be an Email?
Too often, we take meetings out of habit. They’ve become even more prevalent with Zoom because there’s so little effort to jumping on a call. You don’t even have to change out of your pajama pants, and so too many times, something that could be handled with a simple email turns into a meeting. Before you schedule another Zoom, ask yourself if a problem or question could be deal with on email first. Send that note and cancel that meeting.
2. Limit Meetings to 15 Minutes or Less
Zoom meetings tend to go longer because of the relaxed vibe. You’re putting your dog on camera, you’re showing off your baby’s new onesie, you’re panning the camera around your new home office setup, and oops! An hour’s gone by. Avoid Zoom meeting creep by setting strict time limits on meetings and ending at the appointed time.
3. No Pets or Kids Till Business Is Finished
Another way to reduce time spent on Zoom is by prioritizing the work. No one shares their funny filter or puts the camera on Fido until you have addressed all work issues. Once the work is out of the way, you may find no one wants to stick around any longer. Your long meetings may have just been a form of procrastination.
4. Never Multitask
It is so tempting to turn off your camera during a Zoom meeting and instead clean out your email inbox (or even fold laundry!) while the call drags on. But that’s a mistake for two reasons:
1. You may lose track of what’s being talked about and miss out on valuable information.
2. Multitasking can contribute to mental exhaustion because it taxes your brain.
Give your brain a break and only do one task at a time.
5. Take the Meeting Outside
Even if you continue to work from home, you don’t have to limit yourself to Zooms. If you need to meet with a team member, strap on some sneakers and go for a walk together. Meet for lunch. Or visit a park to work on a strategy. Be creative — you’ll be so much happier when you see someone in person, and you can still do it safely while avoiding another mind-numbing Zoom.