Four ways to beat the fatigue of virtual meetings
The reason for this fatigue is that virtual meetings require you to focus more intensely, as you don’t have the advantage of picking up on physical cues.
Working from home during this coronavirus pandemic is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, staying home makes it a lot easier for us to take precautions like physical distancing and avoid meeting people who may have COVID-19 infection. On the other hand, working from home has its own challenges and stresses. Sure, you save time travelling and can sit and dress up however you please. But more and more people are experiencing an increase in the levels of fatigue from this situation - specifically when your job requires you to be on multiple conference calls and virtual meetings during the day.
The reason for this fatigue is that virtual meetings require you to focus more intensely, as you don’t have the advantage of picking up on physical cues or learning what people are thinking from their body language.
We spoke to Dr Kamna Chhibber, Clinical Psychologist at Fortis Healthcare, about ways to deal with this fatigue. Here are some of Dr Chhibber's suggestions:
1. Avoid being in a rush
If you’re one of those who wakes up just minutes before you have to start working and then have to rush to seem presentable on the call - you might want to change this routine. Wake up early enough so you have ample time for all your morning tasks like bathing, having breakfast, exercising, etc. Then get started on work at least 15 minutes before your first meeting so you can gather your thoughts, read up on your notes, or go over relevant emails. Also, keep a buffer between tasks and meetings just in case something takes longer than expected or if you need to change your mindset for the next meeting (say, with a completely different client).
2. Get moving
When we’re going from one meeting to another, there is often a change of location during which you end up stretching your legs. But with all our work happening on one screen now, sometimes we’re sitting in the same spot for over 10 hours. This is obviously unhealthy and contributes to your fatigue. So get moving - stretching every hour, walking around the house, wrapping up a fun chore even. This will give your mind a much-needed break and help you feel refreshed.
3. Have some fun
If you think back to your inter-company meetings, we’re sure you’ll remember some funny jokes that were told or some amazing stories that people shared. While we’re always connected when we’re working from home, personal connections with your colleagues do still suffer - take a few minutes to just enjoy and catch up during these meetings. If possible, suggest a change in pace or process followed during regular meetings as well - switching formats may add some new energy to the tasks at hand.
4. Have a sign-off routine
Yes, it is tempting to crash on your bed after your last meeting of the day. But staying organised can be a huge help when it comes to dealing with mental fatigue. So set aside a few minutes for this towards the end of each day: during this time you can reflect on what you got done that day and what needs to be done the next day. Chalk out a rough routine for the next day so you’re not in a panic or clueless when you begin work the following day. This doesn’t mean you drag your work too much beyond your working hours, though - it’s important to maintain a balance between work and personal life even if you’re working from home.
For more information, read our article on 7 steps to beat the fatigue of virtual meeting.
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