‘Zoom Fatigue’ is real.
There are clinical examinations of the causes and effects such as A Neuropsychological Exploration of Zoom Fatigue from Dr. Jena Lee in the Psychiatric Times. I also have my own personal experiences and hear stories from others as anecdotal proof.
I recently facilitated a team improvement session for a group to help them have more effective meetings. When people in the office began working remotely, they defaulted to every meeting including video because, well, Zoom! It came out in our session that this was taking a toll in the team. They decided to make video optional for all calls (no questions asked), except for a specific team meeting once a week.
And that is the good news – there are practical steps you can take to manage Zoom Fatigue! The Harvard Business Review published several great tips on How to Combat Zoom Fatigue. These range from things you can do as an individual to agreements that your team can put in place.
Video can be your ally!
What can you do when you have a mixture of in-person and virtual participants, or a hybrid meeting? This is more challenging than a meeting that is exclusively live or virtual. This is due to the different way live and remote participants experience and interact with each other. One way to level the playing field is to design and manage the session as if everything and everyone were virtual.
- Limit sessions to four hours a day maximum, with breaks every hour or so
- Have all materials available in digital format, shared in advance
- Instead of flip charts, use virtual boards like Microsoft Teams or Mural for collaboration
- For breakouts, people live in the room can have a laptop/tablet for virtual members to join as individuals…unless you can afford one of these – Best telepresence robot in 2021
- Keep a digital trail of artifacts from the session, such as an action/decision list and copies of collaborative output
- For a team building activity, consider using a virtual escape room to engage problem solving skills while having a lot of fun!
A skilled facilitator can help design these elements into your hybrid meeting and then help manage execution for the group. They can bring in an outside perspective to making sure the tools and approaches you are using add more value than they take away.