Video calls have become a necessary part of doing business today. In many ways, this trend has been enabled by the proliferation of the internet and the popularity of online video chat services like Zoom and Google Meet. Video calling is the most efficient way to stay connected with coworkers, clients, and teammates, and the result has been a dramatic increase in the time people spend on video calls and meetings. However, with this increase in video calling time, it is becoming clear that the benefits are not being met without costs. Too many video calls and meetings can result in burnout and even cognitive impairment, as well as a dip in overall happiness. In this article, we will discuss the negative impacts of video meeting fatigue and the steps you can take to mitigate them.
Trends Point Towards More Video Calls, Not Less
The migration to online calling has been driven by a number of factors. First, the ubiquity of the internet allows people to keep in touch from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. Second, video calling provides a better overall experience than voice calls, helping users feel more engaged during their conversations. Finally, video calling apps have steadily improved, with more sophisticated interfaces and clear audio. The result has been a gradual migration away from voice calls and in-person meetings and towards video meetings. In fact, video calls are so common today that they are the preferred method of communication for many businesspeople.
This shift towards video calls has driven a corresponding increase in time spent on video calls and meetings. Many businesspeople report spending more than half of their workday on video calls. While some of this increase has been driven by improvements in the effectiveness of video calling, much of it is due to a lack of discipline and foresight when scheduling meetings. This can lead to burnout from video meeting fatigue, which we will discuss in detail later in this article.
Why Too Many Video Calls Can Be Exhausting
There are a number of factors that contribute to video call fatigue. The first and most obvious is simply the amount of time spent on video calls. As we discussed above, many businesspeople now spend a significant part of their workday on video calls, often multiple hours at a time. This can lead to a host of negative physical and cognitive effects, including stress, anxiety, boredom, and the draining effect we have termed “video meeting fatigue.”
The second factor is the cognitive load associated with taking notes during a video call. While this task may seem trivial, it actually requires quite a bit of cognitive effort, and when you factor in having to take notes on multiple video calls every day, the cognitive load can become very draining.
The third factor is the lack of control that people feel over their video meetings. While it is possible to set up controls like muting your microphone or turning off your camera, there is a certain feeling of vulnerability that comes with doing so. People who are forced to communicate in this way feel like they are being forced to give up a small part of their autonomy, which can cause them to become anxious. This feeling of anxiety can also contribute to a drop in productivity and overall happiness.
The Negative Impact Of Video Meeting Fatigue
Video meeting fatigue can have a number of negative effects on your workday. Most obviously, the stress that comes from being in meetings or on calls for multiple hours a day can lead to physical and emotional fatigue. This fatigue can lead to anxiety, burnout, and even physical health issues. However, video meeting fatigue also has a deeper impact on your productivity and happiness.
Video calling is the most efficient way to communicate with clients, coworkers, and teammates. However, this efficiency comes at a cost. When you spend multiple hours a day in meetings or on calls, it can make you feel less productive, as if you are wasting your time. This sense of wasted time is exacerbated by the feeling that you are not giving your best efforts in the meeting. If you feel like you are spending too much time on video calls, or that you are not doing your best during them, you may start to feel less engaged in your work.
Tips and Tricks to Avoid Meeting Burn-out
Video calling is here to stay. We will continue to use video calling as a crucial part of our workday, and there is no reason to think that this trend will not continue. However, as we discussed earlier, it is important to develop strategies that can help us mitigate the negative effects of too many video calls. To that end, we will discuss a number of approaches that can help you reduce the negative effects of video meeting fatigue, without giving up the benefits of video calls.
1. Configuring Your Video Call App
The first step to minimizing the negative impact of video meeting fatigue is to optimize your video call app. In most cases, there are a number of settings that can be changed to make your calls more effective. For example, many video calling apps have settings, allowing you to choose when your microphone is muted and your camera is turned off. AI background removal capabilities are now integrated into most video calling apps, meaning that you can use your camera in a way that does not distract other people in the meeting. Finally, background noise removal, a feature that removes ambient sounds like traffic or air conditioning can improve the quality of your video calls.
2. When Cameras Are Appropriate
When you are scheduling a meeting, it is important to keep in mind whether or not the use of cameras is appropriate. While the use of video calling can make meetings more effective and efficient, it is important to consider whether or not using a camera is necessary. If you are the meeting organizer, you should determine the expectations you have on other attendees regarding their camera use, and if you are an attendee, you should ask the meeting organizer what their expectations are.
3. Putting Breaks Into Your Schedule
Another strategy for mitigating the negative effects of video meeting fatigue is to put breaks into your schedule. It can be helpful to divide your day up into segments, allowing you to take a break from video calls and meetings. These breaks can also be used to allow your body and mind to recover from the stress of taking notes or simply being on a video call for too long.
4. Avoid Wearing Headphones for Long Durations
While wearing headphones can improve the quality of your call, they can also have negative effects. In many cases, wearing headphones for long durations can cause your ears to become irritated or cause headaches. In addition, headphones can cause people to become more isolated, which can exacerbate video call fatigue. In general, it is a good idea to avoid wearing headphones for long durations, and instead, put them on only when they are necessary.
5. Change Your Setting; Have Meetings Outdoors
Having a change of scenery can improve your productivity and mood. While the use of video calling technology has made it easy to keep in touch from anywhere, you should avoid becoming too confined to your home or office. It can be helpful to change your location if you are spending too much time on video calls. This change in location can have a variety of benefits, including making you more relaxed and giving you more energy for your next meeting.
6. Record Your Calls and Meetings
One of the simplest ways to deal with video call fatigue is to record your calls and meetings. By recording your calls and meetings with an AI call and meeting capture solution such as Hyperia, you can keep notes on the meeting in a searchable database. Not only does this allow you to review any meeting with less mental effort, but it also allows you to quickly refer back to previous discussions and decisions, so you do not have to rehash old ideas and topics.
7. Eliminate 'Meetings about Meetings'
Find a way to reduce or eliminate 'meetings about meetings.' As we discussed earlier, one of the reasons that video calling has become such a common part of the workday is because it is more effective and efficient than traditional in-person meetings. However, many people overdo it, having too many video calls and meetings, which can be draining. When you are scheduling a video call or a meeting, it is important to ask whether or not you really need a meeting. If possible, try to move more of these discussions to an asynchronous communication channel, such as an email thread or Slack group.
8. Talk Calls While Moving; Use Wireless Earbuds
While it is important to short breaks during your day between meetings, you should also try to walk and talk whenever possible. Moving while on a call can be energizing, and can help you stay alert during a long meeting. In addition, using wireless earbuds can make you have more freedom of movement. While moving around may preclude using your camera, it can still be a useful strategy for audio-only discussions.
9. Prioritize: Does It Really Need To Be a Meeting?
The number one strategy for mitigating the negative effects of video meeting fatigue is to prioritize your meeting and calls. Ask yourself whether or not you really need to have a meeting, and if so, determine how long it needs to be. While video calling is an effective way to communicate and plan, it is important to keep in mind that it does not have to be the only way. If a discussion or a decision can be done asynchronously, then in many cases, it should be.
10. Leverage More Async Communications
While video calls and meetings are an essential part of your workday, you should try to leverage other forms of communication when possible. Asynchronous communication, such as email, Slack, and shared document editing should be used whenever possible. By keeping your meetings short and sweet, you can avoid burnout and become more productive.
Ultimately, video calls are here to stay. The way that we communicate is changing, and video calls are an essential part of business life. However, in order to maximize the benefits of video calls, it is important to be aware of how to video call fatigue can impact your workday. By following the tips and tricks we have outlined above, you can reduce the negative effects of video meeting fatigue, and make video calls and meetings a more positive part of your life. Additionally, by deploying an AI call and meeting capture solution such as Hyperia, you can reduce the cognitive load from taking notes and search through recorded calls and meetings for important information.