In recent months, if you’ve gone from looking forward to virtual meetings to dreading them, then you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world are experiencing virtual meeting fatigue.
Fortunately, there are some practical ways to deal with this problem. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:
1. If possible, don’t schedule virtual meetings back-to-back. Your eyes, your brain, and your body need a break in between meetings.
2. Speaking of your body: while you probably can’t move around during your virtual meeting (unless the meeting is with your yoga instructor or karate sensei!), make sure you do some stretching and walking between meetings. Check out these stretches that all desk workers should do.
3. While attending a virtual meeting, pause or mute all distractions, such as emails, texts, app update notifications, and so on. Not only will this help you focus on the meeting, but it will keep you energized instead of exhausted. Besides, nobody likes talking to someone who is busy doing something else!
4. You probably type much faster than you can write, and so you may think it’s a good idea to capture your notes in real-time by typing them into a word processor. However, studies have shown that using an old fashioned pen/pencil and paper boosts post-meeting recall and improves the quality of notes. This means you’ll have fewer notes after the meeting, but they will be more useful.
5. One of the biggest reasons for virtual meeting fatigue is excessive eyestrain. To avoid this, every now and then, take a look out the window, at the art on your wall, at your beloved Waykee plush owl mascot, or anything else that is pleasant. Also, check out these tips to boost eye health.
6. Grab one of those sticky notes and put it over your little section of the screen. Why? Because you’ll find it easier to focus on the speaker or speakers when there isn’t a miniature version of yourself staring back at you — which is kind of strange and unsettling.
7. Make your home office as comfortable as possible, so that you aren’t twisting, turning and wincing in pain as you struggle to pay attention. If you’re not sure where to start, here is some good advice on what home office equipment, furniture and accessories to look for.
8. Stay hydrated by having a glass of water or other (ideally decaffeinated and no/low sugar) beverage handy. If you find yourself forgetting to take a sip, install a handy app that will remind you — here are some suggestions. Plus, here are some good tips for staying hydrated.
9. We all love fun and creative virtual meeting backgrounds (like these!). However, sometimes less is more — especially when it comes to sensory overload. As such, if possible, have a policy where all virtual meeting attendees use neutral or low-key backgrounds. Save the really cool stuff for virtual happy hours and informal get-togethers with family and friends.
10. Don’t forget there is an old school technology called the phone, which might be more suitable in some cases than a virtual conference. Phone calls can often be a little more (or sometimes a lot more) relaxing. Just because people CAN have virtual meetings doesn’t mean they always SHOULD.
The Bottom Line
Virtual meetings are going to become increasingly prevalent now that (as Joey pointed out recently) remote work has shifted from being an employee perk to a fundamental staple of the work landscape. But these 10 tips can help you look forward to virtual meetings instead of dreading them!
Please share your best virtual meeting tips, either as a host, a participant, or both. Your knowledge and experience will help all of us adjust to this new normal.