Fighting the ‘Zoom Fatigue’: A Guide on Effective Virtual Meetings

Zoom meetings have taken over our lives since the beginning of the pandemic, an effort that thousands of organizations made to make up for the lost interaction and to keep everyone engaged. It’s true the original motives of these video calls were good to begin with, but even with every good intention, the ‘honeymoon’ phase is reaching its end. And when that time comes, it is crucial for companies to refine their way of approaching remote communication.

The Nature of Office vs. Virtual Meetings

Back in the office, having daily or weekly team meetings is very common. Hence, moving that to a digital platform shouldn’t feel much different, or so we thought. The impression of virtual meetings being the antidote to online collaboration made it seem ‘okay’ to have five back-to-back Zoom calls in a day. This can be backed by research that showed a 23% increase in meetings held since COVID-19.

It’s perfectly reasonable to feel overwhelmed when suddenly your day is composed entirely of work-related calls. The physical cues you would normally get in the office are also being taken away, making informal interactions much more difficult as everyone just wants to end the call and get on with their work. Unbeknownst to many, it is also these ‘casual side conversations’ that take away the dryness of a typical work meeting – like how busy traffic was today, or the new shirt your coworker wore to work. So, imagine for weeks and months, stuck in a series of never-ending work-only calls, how do you think your employees would feel?

Refining Your Way of Conducting Virtual Meetings

I can understand why business owners feel stressed and nervous. After all, putting all your trust in your employees, whom you can’t physically see, takes courage. For that reason, these virtual solutions were ideal for temporary comfort. Indeed, video chat is helping us stay connected. Yet, we shouldn’t rule out the fact that this endless cycle of repetition is also the cause of rising burnout, or as they now call it – the ‘Zoom fatigue’. Before these meetings become detrimental to employee morale and productivity, perhaps it’s time to pause and take a step back:

  • First off, moderation is key. Depending on your teams, daily meetings could be too much of an overkill. Hold meetings appropriately either once or twice a week to keep them interested.
  • Make your meetings personal. Beyond the standard “what are your tasks today?”, encourage your team members to share stories about their WFH life, struggles, or anything interesting that will aid in bonding relationships.
  • Conduct micro-meetings whether it’s within departments or among each sub-team. As with any social gathering, smaller groups make communication easier and less overwhelming. This is perfect for members who are particularly soft-spoken in larger groups.

Foreseeing our future, the trend of working from home is likely to stay beyond COVID times. With a bit of trust in your employees, together with set boundaries and honest policy, we’ll hopefully reach an outcome which elevates your employees both individually and as a team. A win-win for all, in the end.