As with anything, there needs to be balance.  Equal amounts of standard conference calls with video meetings.  In this disbursed workforce, we’ve all jumped on the bandwagon of video calls and “cameras on”.  It’s non-stop.  My worst day this week so far – 6 hours of back to back video calls.  That doesn’t even include the virtual day of training. 

I AM EXHAUSTED.  I bet you are too.  I didn’t even know this type of fatigue was a thing until my husband sent me an article after he found me asleep on the couch 3 days straight at 6 pm.  Turns out, it’s quite common and ripping its way through our teams.

This type of interaction isn’t very natural.  The level of constant eye contact and staring at a block of faces on a monitor is not natural.  Our typical non-verbal communication is lost and those that lead the meetings feel they need to carry the bulk of the conversation.  Overall, it is mentally and physically draining.  Layer on the stress of why we can’t meet in person and it’s no wonder we’re feeling exhausted.   

Here are some tips to help combat this level of fatigue:

  1. Ensure it needs to be a camera on call.  It’s ok to ask to switch to audio only.  Chances are you aren’t alone here.
  2. Pick up the phone.  Many of my 1:1 check-ins are also via a video meeting.  A standard phone call will do the trick.  Even better, suggest the 1:1 be outdoors on a walk!
  3. Take a break.  If you are like me and your calendar goes from 2 meetings to 6 in the blink of an eye, manage the time immediately following a meeting by blocking it for a break.  Get up and go get a refill on that coffee and stay away from your screen for a good 15 minutes, minimum.
  4. Check in with yourself and others.  If you just can stomach another video call, keep you camera off and simply explain why if asked.  Check in on your team as well and ensure they understand it is ok to turn off the camera. 

Moderation is the key to everything.  Spread the video calls between work, family and the students in your household.  Do what is right for you.