Are you perpetually tired and feel burned out? Do you lack focus or find yourself multitasking during meetings? You may suffer from digital exhaustion. Employees are in meetings twice as much today as they were last year, according to a new report from Microsoft’s Work Trend Index,i which combines insights from people using its tools, like Microsoft 365, as well as a survey of more than 30,000 workers.
Microsoft 365 between February 2020 and February 2021:
- Time spent in Microsoft Teams meetings has more than doubled (2.5x) globally and, aside from a holiday dip in December, continues to climb.
- The average meeting is 10 minutes longer, increasing from 35 to 45 minutes.
The rise of UCaaS brought about an increase in virtual meetings to fill the void of an office environment. At the onset of the global pandemic, companies scrambled to invest in technology, like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Webex, to support their growing hybrid workforce. While coworkers are now a quick video call or chat away, it turns out that being so accessible has generally left people feeling worn out. Microsoft’s January survey found that 54% feel overworked, and 39% say they feel exhausted. Read on to find out how to combat digital exhaustion and thrive in a virtual environment.
Do you know the signs?
If you suffer from “zoom fatigue” or digital exhaustion, you may be:
- Multitasking during meetings
- Losing motivation, social or otherwise
- Straining your eyes and face
- Suffering from burnout that leads to anxiety, headaches, irritability, and insomnia
Try These 4 Tips to Ease Digital Exhaustion
1. Get Creative with Communication
Are you feeling the pressure to keep your camera on for every single meeting? Try turning it off sometimes and using your calling and chat features instead. Know that it is perfectly possible to be present when you’re not showing your face. Plus, it takes the pressure off you to manage your appearance and expressions. Before setting a meeting, always ask yourself: “Could this be an email?”
2. Remain Present in Each Meeting
It may be tempting to finish up another task while on a call, but you should focus solely on the call you are on. Limit distractions like your phone, outside notifications, and your inbox. Instead, go full screen and write down your thoughts or questions to ask. If you don’t feel you have much to add, try declining calls that do not require your input.
3. Take Frequent Breaks Using the Pomodoro Method
Source: Todoist: The Pomodoro Technique
4. Set Strong Time Boundaries
Does it feel like the workday never ends? Nearly 70% of professionals who transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic say they now work on the weekends, and 45% say they regularly work more hours during the week than they did before, according to a survey of 2,800 workers by Los Angeles-based staffing firm Robert Halfii. While it’s tempting to work around the clock, it’s helpful to set your own new regular working hours, just like you would in an office setting.
An overall sense of balance helps unblur the line between work and home. As we adjust to our new lives and look forward to a post-pandemic future, let’s do our best to take care of ourselves so that we can show up happier, healthier, and ready to contribute.