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Dealing with video call fatigue

Getting distracted, missing out on body language and nonverbal cues and a basic human need for face-to-face contact all add up to make video calls a challenging part of the new world of work. Yet, as they’re unlikely to be going away any time soon, here’s how the experts recommend you make them work for you and your team

When you’re part of a remote team, video calling is an unavoidable part of life. But if you’re feeling drained after a day of virtual meetings you’re not alone – ‘Video call fatigue’ is a growing concern among many professionals.

These calls can’t be avoided, there are steps you can take to help yourself feel refocused and more in control. Organisational psychologist Guy Lubitsh and licensed psychologist Tami Lubitsh-White shared their tips with a shared office provider, so here they are for you to see too...

1. Overcome the temptation to multitask

We worked with a manager who explained that he was able to play video games while participating in important business meetings online. Don’t do this! Be accountable to your own presence.

2. Send the relevant information in advance of your call

By limiting your presentation slides or explanatory spiel to a minimum, you can make sure your virtual call time is spent on the high-quality conversations that really matter.

3. Insist on visibility

It’s easier to connect with people when you can see them, so ask your call participants to turn on their cameras – and lead by example by doing the same.

4. Allow for informal ‘virtual water cooler’ time

One important but overlooked part of in-person meetings is the casual conversations that take place before the ‘real work’ commences. With this in mind, it can sometimes be useful to start a call slightly early to allow for team members to connect informally.

5. Schedule time in your day when you’re unreachable

Back-to-back video calls can be especially draining, so try to plan your workday with at least one block of no-call time for concentrated work.

6. Ask for continued feedback during calls

In order to compensate for missing out on important body language or the emotional atmosphere in the room, it’s helpful to encourage your colleagues to provide feedback during calls by raising their hands or using emojis.

7. Regulate your personal feelings

Emotions can be amplified in a digital environment. To avoid getting pulled into unnecessary conflicts, stay calm and remember not to get personal (or take things personally) during work conversations.

8. Don’t give up on difficult conversations

Make a concerted effort to notice and respond to colleagues’ body language and tone of voice. These can give you important clues for what they really need and want. Follow up by creating the space for further personal meetings and conversations.

9. Keep making calls

While it can be tempting to fall back on email communications, if you need to resolve conflict or tension or if there’s a problem or misunderstanding, always aim to pick up the (virtual) videophone.


If I may, I'd like to add another. to this brilliant advice:

10. Mix it up

Fatigue exists where there is repetition and monotony. The key here is to add variety to the calls. You will need different ways to engage, different ways to solicit feedback, different ways to host discussions. You could use our Online Video Cards to go bring more interaction, voting, agreement, quizzing... there are so many things you can use them for. You can of course find your own ways to interact too. Think differently and get far better engagement.

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