Many companies have shifted to remote work environments to keep their businesses operating through the global COVID-19 pandemic. While some may have thought this would be a temporary situation, it has been over a year, and many organizations are looking to remote work as a standard business practice and a long-term strategy to attract talent and lower operational costs. However, the increase in remote work does have some downsides. Employees are feeling burnt out and many are experiencing ‘Zoom fatigue,’ which may cause feelings of mental exhaustion and lead to decreased productivity.
If your organization has shifted to a remote-only or remote-first approach, you may have noticed some changes in your team, such as irritable and disengaged coworkers and tired employees. So, what can people do to decrease and prevent Zoom fatigue from setting in?
Remote access makes it easy for employees to access their work from anywhere. While this can be beneficial, it can also blur the line between employees’ home and work lives. Making an effort to follow office hours, even when remote, can help distinguish work time and personal time. Experts suggest designating specific work areas for those working from home to create a physical space that is reserved for work. Avoid checking emails or messages outside of your normal work hours unless absolutely necessary, and encourage teammates to do the same.
Don’t overdo meetings
With remote work, sometimes people become ‘meeting happy’ and schedule meetings for every issue that comes up. Before sending that meeting invite, consider if a meeting is even necessary. Some issues can be addressed through a simple email or chat message, especially for quick questions or status updates. If a meeting is necessary, creating an agenda can help keep the meeting on-topic. Keep meetings short if possible and take some time to consider who the relevant parties are before sending the invitation – if they don’t need to be active participants, make their attendance optional or update them with a quick email after the meeting is over.
In a physical office, workers are able to have impromptu watercooler conversations or pop by a coworker’s desk for quick chats. Those opportunities for short breaks throughout the day can get lost when working from home. Scheduling some time during the day to go for a walk, stretch, or otherwise just getting away from your computer for a few minutes can be a nice way to break up the monotony of staring at a screen all day.
Although many cities and states are relaxing their guidelines for social distancing and activities, not everyone is comfortable going out to restaurants, traveling, or attending social gatherings just yet. But that doesn’t mean they have to be isolated from friends and family. Modern technology makes it easy to connect with loved ones – game nights, dinner parties, and other activities can be held virtually.