How to combat video call fatigue

A young man very exhausted after answering  video calls
TJ
Tochi Juliet

Many tend to feel more exhausted after video calls, especially during this pandemic that many meetings and works have been shifted online.

Video call fatigue refers to the mental exhaustion associated with online video conferencing. And, for many reasons, people tire easily after work-related video calls.

Here are tips on how to combat video call fatigue.

Take only necessary video calls.

It is always good to be selective about the number of video calls one takes in a day.

Consider whether the call really needs to happen. Video calling can actually make us lazy because it’s human nature that when something is on tap, it becomes less precious to us. This means we end up setting up countless video calls, just because we can.

Be wise and select the important and necessary video calls to take to avoid draining your strength.

Avoid multitasking

It is usual to see some in a video call yet engaging in other works at the same time.

It’s easy to think that you can use the opportunity to do more in less time, but research shows that trying to do multiple things at once cuts into performance.

Because you have to turn certain parts of your brain off and on for different types of work, switching between tasks can cost you as much as 40 per cent of your productive time.

Some may be on a video call, yet many tabs they are working on are opened at the same time.

It is advisable to close any tabs or programs that might distract you (e.g. your inbox or Slack), put your phone away, and stay present when on a video call.

Video-conferencing and doing other works at the same time can reduce your performance

Schedule your time and keep it short

Always have a mapped out time for each programme you ought to indulge in or you can be easily carried away.

Even when in a work-related video call, the team should endeavour to create a specific time for the beginning and end of the meeting.

The key to working smarter, especially when you’re working remotely, is to have a meeting strategy for your team.

Following this strategy will reduce the number of meetings, the time spent in meetings and the time spent coordinating the set up of meetings.

Build breaks

Take mini-breaks from video during longer calls by minimising the window, moving it to behind your open applications, or just looking away from your computer completely for a few seconds now and then.

This is to let your eyes rest for some time. It is possible to listen without staring at the screen for a full thirty minutes.

Stop staring at yourself constantly.

Research shows that when you’re on video, you tend to spend the most time gazing at your own face.

Our brains are used to seeing everyone in a meeting as a whole. But when you’re in a video meeting and each person is in a separate box, including yourself, it’s like trying to watch ten or fifteen mini-TVs at once.

We aren’t used to staring at our own image for that long, and it can be jarring to see yourself so much.

This can be easily avoided by hiding yourself from view.

Change the view on your video settings to speaker mode. When the only person you see is the person who is currently talking, it will be far less distracting and overstimulating.

Sometimes, it is advisable to turn off your camera to avoid staring much on faces and also on backgrounds.

It is okay to take a break from staring at your screen during a lengthy video call by minimising your window or simply looking away from the screen for some seconds.

Switch to a phone call or Email

When you might have had a series of video calls within the week, it is always advisable to switch to a phone call or email.

Check your calendar for the next few days to see if there are any conversations you could have over Slack or email instead.

You can ask the person to switch to a phone call or suggest picking up the conversation later so you can both recharge. Try something like, “I’d love a break from video calls. Do you mind if we do this over the phone?” Most likely, the other person will be relieved by the switch, too.

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