After a video call, you feel exhausted and unproductive. But your calendar reminds you that you have another call in five minutes. Zoom fatigue is real, and it happens to many people who spend a lot of time on video meetings. Avoiding, canceling, or rescheduling video meetings, turning off video view, feeling tense, low energy, or sore eyes are signs that you are video meeting burnout. Zoom meetings take increased cognitive load and emotional effort, because our brains process interactions over video versus an in-person meeting. We must work harder to send and receive signals over Zoom, like looking at the speaker or nodding in agreement. Zoom fatigue is caused by seeing your own face reflected in self-view, and by intense, sustained eye contact. Video calls are stressful, even if you're not the speaker, since you're constantly looking at giant, close-up faces staring back at you. You also must sit still for hours on end, which is not natural. The easiest way to fight Zoom fatigue is to cut down on time spent in video meetings. Evaluate your meetings and see if there are other ways to achieve the same purpose without a meeting.
Async communication happens in writing instead of in-person, and it improves access to information and creates a written record of all your team's progress and accomplishments.
Instead of holding a Zoom round-robin, teams use async written updates to share progress on in-flight work and flag blockers. This eliminates a meeting that can sometimes feel repetitive and helps folks more easily surface context about the work that they wouldn't have had time for in a 30-second update. Zoom meetings are exhausting because we don't get a chance to move around and stretch our legs. Consider moving to a different format, like a phone call or a walking meeting. For meetings you decide to keep around, an agenda, facilitator, and good notes can help keep things moving and help everyone come prepared for a productive discussion. Start by testing out an async meeting format on a smaller scale. Give your team time to adjust and get more immediate value out of it. Give your team structure and a template for async communication and set a calendar reminder to help them get used to the new format. As a leader, set an example and check in regularly with your team to understand what's working.