Top 4 Ways to Avoid Zoom Fatigue

Post-pandemic, the phenomenon known as “zoom fatigue” has become a widely established workplace pitfall for remote organizations. Luckily, there are clear paths to sidestepping the workplace hazard and keeping your team energized, engaged, and motivated. 

The newly remote working world transitioned from doing most of their work synchronously to asynchronously. This means, fewer meetings and face-to-face work processes and more freedom to work and contribute how and when employees want. Asynchronous work is already essential to our workflow. It comes in the form of email, Slack, WhatsApp, and other text messaging platforms. Avoiding zoom fatigue comes down to one key idea: Navigating as many synchronous aspects of the workweek to be async as possible.

Letting Go of Pre-Pandemic Assumptions

The idea that “creativity only happens when everyone’s together at the same time with whiteboards and post-it notes” is literally thinking inside the box. A creative spark, a moment of inspiration, those happen when we least expect them. If you don’t believe me, ask an introvert on your team if they think creativity happens in a crowded meeting room. They might be more inclined to see a “brainstorm session” as a performative work play entitled “who can talk the loudest and most confidently.” 

However, there is a very valid concern when stepping away from meetings and “face-to-face” work. Loss of connection with coworkers, a loss of bonding and intimacy—that is a rightful concern. Luckily, there are new platforms that will not only save you from zoom fatigue, but it will also increase your team’s overall connectivity. There are creative tools, based on short-form async videos, that let your people show up when they want as exactly who they are. 

The future is remote and zoom meetings will be a part of it, but they don’t need to be so constant. Let’s run through our top 4 ways to avoid zoom fatigue.

4 Ways to Avoid Zoom Fatigue:

1. Async video brainstorms  

Imagine you’re developing a new product and it’s going through numerous iterations. Everyone working on the project could send a short video with the ideas they have for the project—right when they feel inspired and at their fullest energy. They can take in their teammate’s ideas with the same scheduling freedom. The introverts don’t have to wrestle for the proverbial microphone, and everyone can give input in an extremely personal medium (aka video), organized and never to be lost. 

2. Async video meeting recaps and reactions

Instead of taking up additional synchronous time, async video is the perfect tool for a manager to give meeting recaps or updates to their team about other happenings around the company. Rather than taking the first part of a weekly team meeting (aka Zoom fatigue nightmare) to rehash what was said at the leadership meeting, why not give a video recap so your team can absorb it and respond on their own time. Imagine a thread where a manager informs their team that leadership decided to establish a tech budget for all employees, and they ask everyone to share what they plan to spend it on. What a fun and powerful way to share some good news. 

3. Async group bonding 

A lot of organizations do the majority of their bonding virtually now. I’m willing to bet 99% of remote organizations’ intentional moments for culture or bonding happen via video calls. Interacting in “real-time” feels like the closest recreation of the ice-breakers we played as kids at summer camp, so this must be the way, right? Some bonding activities work well on video calls, but there are other inventive ways to “get to know the team.” 

  • Try a thread with 60-second videos of everyone giving their weekend highlights.
  • Imagine one where folks lovingly impersonate a fellow co-worker and everyone has to guess who it is. 
  • Launch a thread of short videos trying to win “most creative hump-day lunch.” 
  • Make a thread where everyone has to explain their teenage self with any related artifacts they still have lying around

Let your creative mind run free and you’ll find there are so many fun use-cases for async short-form video bonding. 

4. Fewer meetings, full stop

Another, perhaps obvious, way to avoid zoom fatigue is to simply organize fewer meetings. Take an in-depth look at your weekly call cadence, and ask yourself what calls might be shortened or cut altogether. Poll your team about the importance of your recurring calls, and find out from them which seem to be most essential, and which could be replaced by async work time. Whatever occurs on those calls that your team members don’t find extremely valuable will likely be replaced by taking on the same exact work with an async platform. 

COVID’s Silver Lining (in Spite of Zoom Fatigue): 

Remote work was inching into our lives prior to 2020. Then the COVID pandemic cast a shadow over the year and irrevocably changed work forever. However, that fast-forward button on remote work was the pandemic’s greatest silver lining. Now, remote work is here, and there’s no escaping it or going backward. People love the freedom it provides. Additionally, there’s too much evidence that remote workers are more productive than their counterparts in the office to deny. 

Our work-weeks of the future will be a blend of synchronous work (Zoom calls) and async work (pretty much everything else if you’re remote). So, take the time to find out what aspects of productivity and work culture fit best into which bucket. The prevalence of “zoom fatigue” is strong evidence that currently—way too much is in the synchronous bucket. Move more aspects of your team’s work to async platforms, and be creative in doing so. Using a new tool like Voodle can keep your team from getting “zoomed out” while bringing them closer together. 

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