How to Cope with Zoom Overload

Jill Granberry

Are you sporting the “Zoom Mullet” in your video conferencing calls? Professionals across the country are feeling much more comfortable at work these days. Thanks to the recent shift to remote work and video conferencing, workers are now able to wear their favorite pair of pajamas while they work – deemed the “Zoom mullet,” also a popular hashtag on Twitter. But no matter how comfortable our clothes are, endless video calls can take a toll on remote workers.

Unlike regular conference calls, everything you do is on display front and center while on a video call. This type of constant display can lead workers to feel self-conscious and anxious as they become hyper aware of their appearance and do their best to “perform” on camera. Yet, choosing not to turn on your video might lead your coworkers and manager to believe you are not paying attention – the thought of which will almost certainly lead to more anxiety than just turning your video on in the first place. While this can be a stressful situation, there are ways you can ease the pain of excessive video conferencing.

Sustain Your Work Performance
Working from home comes with its own set of challenges. If your work performance is beginning to suffer and you feel drained at the end of the day, consider how you can adjust your work schedule around video conferences.

  • Where you can, especially with co-workers, ask for an old-fashioned phone call and let them know you are planning to take a walk during the call.
  • Actively manage your schedule by giving yourself at least 30 minutes between calls to step away from your computer and decompress. Even if you just walk to a different part of the house or do some jumping jacks and stretches, make time to be physically active and give your body a break from sitting.
  • Chances are you are not the only person on your team feeling this way. Talk to your team lead about setting new expectations for video conferences; not every meeting requires a face-to-face conversation. Save video conferences for weekly check-ins, white board brainstorming sessions, and any sensitive information that needs to be delivered face-to-face, such as a performance review.

If All Else Fails, Make Adjustments
If your team is unwilling to make adjustments to the use of video conferences, here are three quick solutions you can employ:

  1. Turn your video screen to your side and focus on another screen or alternate point. This way you will feel less exposed.
  2. Face your back to a blank wall, closed blinds, or install a privacy screen. In doing so, there will be less attention drawn to your home or private space.
  3. Recommend another video option that will satisfy the team’s desire to “see” everyone but provide a new platform that will feel fresh and exciting. Instagram Live, Facebook Messenger for Desktop and Twitch are different channels to support the same mission: increase social engagement.

While many well-meaning organizations intend to strengthen team dynamics by requiring employees to be on video in Zoom conferences, a lack of balance with video calls can overwhelm employees. The good news is that most employers just want what’s best for you and your team, so your manager will likely be open to help find a solution. By following our tips above and openly communicating with your manager, Zoom overload will become a problem of the past for you and your team.

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