Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, our only source of staying connected has been virtual video calls. Not just for work but also to keep alive personal relationships and connections. And while we’re finding more and more ways to keep in touch with our colleagues and friends, staying online for hours is taking its toll on many.
Being on video call requires more face-to-face interaction and makes us work harder on assessing non-verbal cues such as expressions, tone and pitch of voice, and body language. The stress of paying more attention can cause conflicting feelings among people, resulting in exhaustion as relaxing into the conversation doesn’t come naturally on virtual calls.
Here are five easy steps for you to combat the stress caused by virtual interactions and calls.
Trying to do multiple things at once not only diverts your attention but also cuts into performance. Switching between tasks can cut into your productive time as it forces certain parts of your brain to switch on and off when tackling different activities. So, the next time you’re on a video call, close tabs that may potentially distract you or tempt you into working elsewhere while your attention should be on the video chat.
If we’re to be honest, not everything needs to be discussed on a Zoom meeting. Before getting on a video call with your colleagues or team members, evaluate and analyse the benefits of the meeting while also determining the agenda. If you come to the conclusion that the topic at hand can be discussed on the phone or even emails, this may help alleviate the unnecessary psychological stress on your team members.
While your Zoom calls may run longer than you’d like, that doesn’t mean that you can’t give yourself a mini-break from the screen time. By minimising the window on longer calls and moving it behind your open applications or simply taking your eyes off the computer for a few minutes now and then can help reduce the effects continuous screen time has on us. And don’t worry, it’s completely possible to listen to a thirty-minute meeting without starting at the screen for a couple of minutes, something we’re sure your colleagues will understand.
Create a relatable environment
Studies have proven that psychological safety, mutual respect and trust are crucial for a team’s successful performance. To make the most of this shared experience, try to connect and build a greater sense of psychological safety for your team. Share your experiences and issues, ask them about their experiences, connect over mundane topics, something as simple as feeling Zoom fatigue after a long workday. We’re sure most of your colleagues will relate to it. By making it a relatable discussion, you’re encouraging them to build positive bonds while also maintaining professionalism.
It’s okay to opt-out of virtual social events
After a long day of back-to-back calls and meetings, it is completely normal to curl up and not lift a finger for the rest of the night. More so if you’re an introvert. Try and keep virtual social sessions opt-in, which means whoever wishes to join the event can do so but the owner is making it clear that there’s no obligation to join. This can reduce the feeling of anxiety and overwhelming stress most feel when switching from professional to social virtual settings after facing a long day of virtual fatigue.
Read more: My Mind & I