Real estate professionals have had to completely shift our way of doing business due to the pandemic. At this point, though we’re all more or less used to video calls and virtual meetings, “Zoom fatigue” is still something we have to think about each workday.
Zoom fatigue roots from how we process information over video, especially because the only way to show we’re listening is to look at the camera. Having to engage in a constant gaze is physically tiring.
Gianpiero Petriglieri, an associate professor at Insead, told BBC Worklife that videoconferencing requires more focus than chatting face to face because our brains have to work harder to interpret non-verbal cues, including body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. We’re also very aware of what we look and sound like over video because there’s a little mirror looking back at us the entire meeting, adding to the exhaustion.
With working from home here to stay for the foreseeable future, it’s essential to find ways to limit Zoom fatigue from overtaking your day. I’ve shared three ways to help combat the effects of Zoom fatigue as we continue to navigate day-to-day business virtually.
Consider phone calls or emails
Because we are all sitting in our home offices staring at a small window of ourselves, it’s easy to become hyperaware of how we look and how viewers might see us on a video call. Without taking the breaks needed to refocus, it’s easy to grow fatigued.
Check your calendar over the next week or two, and see if there are any conversations you could have over your team’s preferred mode of messaging, such as email, Microsoft Teams or Slack.
As the afternoon rolls in, if you’re Zoomed-out but have an upcoming video call, ask to potentially switch to a phone call, or suggest picking up the conversation later so you both can bring forth the energy the meeting deserves.
I recommend being honest and explaining, “I don’t know about you, but I’d love a break from video calls. Do you mind if we do this one over the phone?” Most likely, your colleague will be glad to change it up too.
Send an agenda
At times, it can feel like video meetings drag on much longer than they need to, which can exacerbate Zoom fatigue. To keep meetings on track, and not go over their allotted time, share an agenda in advance with every participant. Taking this proactive step will ensure everyone knows what the meeting will cover and what each team member should have prepared before it starts.
To not exceed the scheduled time, firmly follow the schedule, and reign in anyone who might be getting too far off track. With a set schedule, you will see how quickly the meeting will move along, and you’ll feel less tired at the end of the workday. Setting these boundaries is critical to overcoming Zoom fatigue.
Avoid multitasking, and take breaks
While on a video call, it can be tempting to get a head start on other work or browsing emails on another window. According to Harvard Business Review, “Because 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.”
Instead of multitasking, focus your attention 100 percent on the video call until it’s over. For longer calls, take mini breaks by minimizing the window or turning off your video and listening to the conversation.
It’s essential to not use this as a time to do something else — let your eyes rest and get a break from all the face time. On the days you have seemingly endless video calls, consider spreading each one out more than the standard half-hour.
Finally, try to group the type of meetings you are hosting into dedicated portions of your day. By scheduling most of your virtual showings and property meetings in the morning and team or company meetings in the afternoon, you will feel more productive and won’t try to do too many things at once.
At first, it might seem hard to adjust your behavior to follow these tips. Reinforcing breaks and trying not to multitask will serve you well in the future. By setting an agenda or opting for a phone call or email update when video isn’t necessary, you will avoid feeling tired and have a more productive workday. These tips will help you adapt your business to current times and make videos something to look forward to and enjoy.
Santiago Arana is a managing partner at The Agency, in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram.