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May 11, 2020

Below is a lesson from Harvard Business Review on how to combat online video calls, as well as our key learning.

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.


How to Combat Zoom Fatigue

by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy

April 29, 2020

If you’re finding that you’re more exhausted at the end of your workday than you used to be, you’re not alone. Over the past few weeks, mentions of “Zoom fatigue” have popped up more and more on social media, and Google searches for the same phrase have steadily increased since early March.

Why do we find video calls so draining? There are a few reasons.

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Key Learnings:

  • Why video calls are tiring:
    • They force us to focus more intently on conversations to absorb information.
    • They make it easier to lose focus.
    • When working from home we are being distracted by loved ones.
    • They force us to look at a camera without visual breaks – constant gaze makes us uncomfortable and tired.
  • Five research-based tips that can help make video calls less exhausting:
    • Avoid multitasking – trying to do multiple things at once cuts into performance. You have to turn certain parts of your brain off and on for different types of work, switching between tasks can cost you as much as 40 percent of your productive time. When on a video chat, close any tabs or programs that might distract you.
    • Build in breaks – Take mini breaks from video during longer calls by minimizing the window, moving it to behind your open applications, or just looking away from your computer completely for a few seconds now and then. Don’t start doing something else but to let your eyes rest for a minute. When back to back calls cannot be avoided, schedule them with 5-10 minutes in between for a quick break, or make it OK for people to turn off their cameras for a bit.
    • Reduce onscreen stimuli – when you’re on video, you tend to spend the most time gazing at your own face: hide yourself from view. You also tend to focus not just on other people’s faces but their backgrounds as well, which your brain then has to process. To combat mental fatigue, encourage people to use plain backgrounds or agree to have everyone who isn’t talking turn off their video.
    • Make virtual social events opt-in – make it clear that no one is obligated to join in to these events. If there is a large group, appoint a facilitator and make it clear in what order people should speak.
    • Switch to phone calls or email – see what conversations you can have over phone calls or email instead. For external calls, avoid defaulting to video calls, especially if you don’t know each other well.