In the age of hybrid work, video conferences and online meetings are a matter of course for many people in their everyday work. The advantages of collaboration in teams and departments as well as with partners and customers are evident. But as practical as the format can be in many cases and as convenient as it is, even from the home office being able to attend meetings: Spending a large part of the day in online conferences can sometimes be exhausting and tiring, which has now been proven by various studies.
And so, the term “video conference fatigue” has not been established for anything. However, this is not unavoidable. Small tips and tricks often help to rule out possible negative consequences or mitigate them significantly. The experts at ClickMeeting, a platform for webinars and online meetings, have put together seven easy-to-implement tips to combat video conferencing fatigue effectively.
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It Doesn’t Always Have To Be A Video Conference
The first tip sounds simple and bland but should not be underestimated: Professional online meetings are a great relief in the digital world, and many have gotten used to them. But you don’t always have to use this solution. If, for example, it is only a question of brief coordination with colleagues, picking up the phone or writing an email are often faster and more accessible options.
Limit The Number Of Participants
Once it has been clarified that the meeting will take place online, the second step should be careful consideration as to who actually has to participate. Like the CC function, which is often used excessively in emails, it usually does not make sense to get as many colleagues on board as possible in online meetings. For an efficient and productive meeting, less is often more.
Also Read: Tips For Your Next Virtual Conference
Clear Agenda, Good Moderation
During the meeting, good facilitation can also help reduce stress and make the session more efficient, enjoyable, and ultimately shorter. On the one hand, this can mean having a clear plan (and sticking to it). On the other hand, it can also be helpful, especially in larger meetings, to use functions such as breakout rooms to form smaller, possibly more effective working groups. Small talk can be beneficial in the right places and help to loosen things up, but good moderation ensures that the meeting is not unnecessarily lengthened.
Avoid Multitasking In Online Meetings
Almost everyone knows it: An online meeting ripples along, the latest social media notification appears on the smartphone, or the computer announces a new email with a beep. The temptation, at least, is very significant to take a quick look. What may subjectively seem like a welcome change has the opposite effect: the distraction loses focus, making it more difficult to follow the video conference overall. As a result, the meeting will tend to be less productive or take longer than necessary, leading to more stress. It is far better to concentrate entirely on the situation for the duration of the online meeting and to switch off external distractions such as notifications and other disturbances if possible.
The Camera Does Not Have To Be Left On Continuously
On the one hand, seeing the other participants is one of the main advantages of video conferences and online meetings. On the other hand, it has long been known that this is also what psychological stress can mean. It is often particularly problematic to constantly see your camera view, which leads to many “control glances.” A study by Stanford University has shown that women, in particular, sometimes find this forced look in the mirror exhausting and can increase video conference fatigue. Overall, almost 14% of the women surveyed and 5.5% of the men surveyed stated that they felt “very” or even “extremely” exhausted after video conferences.
To make things worse in general: it is often experienced as an uncomfortable and restricting movement to remain in the field of view of the webcam – unlike, for example, in a face-to-face conversation. However, this can be remedied relatively easily. Because in most video conferencing solutions, the display of your camera image can be easily hidden if necessary. Anyone stressed by the camera transmission should not be afraid to suggest that the cameras should be generally deactivated in the meeting after a short greeting or round of introductions. Especially when working together on documents or during a presentation, this is often not necessary anyway. By the way: It can also help to reduce the size of the video conference window – this makes other faces appear less dominant.
After a short greeting or introduction round, propose a general deactivation of the cameras in the meeting. Especially when working together on documents or during a presentation, this is often not necessary anyway. By the way: It can also help to reduce the size of the video conference window – this makes other faces appear less dominant. After a short greeting or introduction round, propose a general deactivation of the cameras in the meeting. Especially when working together on documents or during a presentation, this is often not necessary anyway. By the way, it can also help reduce the video conference window size – this makes other faces appear less dominant.
Breaks Between Meetings
Seamlessly one online meeting after the other: If you plan your working day like this, you shouldn’t be surprised if you are stressed or tired of video conferences. Of course, in many cases, it is unfortunately not a requested concert. However, sufficient breaks should be planned between the meetings – these should also be used, for example, for appropriate exercise, fresh air, and some variety. During longer, individual online conferences, the moderator should also regularly introduce a confirmed break of a few minutes. Especially in meetings lasting about an hour or more, this also helps to increase the participants’ receptiveness and attention, which inevitably decreases.
Make Sure The Technology Works Perfectly
If, to top it all off, you also have to fear that the Internet connection will be lost during a crucial online meeting or that your headset will not work correctly, you create an additional source of stress for yourself, which makes video conferences more strenuous than necessary. It, therefore, makes sense to ensure that everything works as well as possible – from the software used to the Internet connection to hardware such as computers, webcams, and headsets.