DURING the early days of the pandemic, office managements were still struggling with a skeleton workforce and how else to manage their manpower while observing proper health protocols in the workplace. So much had been tried and tested and in the end, many resorted to allowing their employees to work from home (WFH). This set-up involves a lot of changes and adjustments both for the part of the employee and the employer.
Several months after the start of the pandemic, people have slowly adjusted to the WFH set-up and have cut corners to balance and distinguish time for household chores and career responsibilities. People have begun joking that the pandemic proved to us how the majority of office meetings can actually be just exchanges of emails instead of hours of sitting down listening to colleagues talk. But still, despite this, there are people who find themselves exhausted after spending 4 to 5 hours (or even more) on Zoom, Google Meet, and other online conference platforms weekly.
According to Healthline, Zoom Fatigue (also known as virtual fatigue), refers to the “exhaustion you feel after any kind of video call or conference.” It may feel like a traditional work burn-out however, it more specifically stems from overuse of virtual meetings. This may come from different reasons but primarily it is because in virtual meetings the brain has to work harder, bigger expectations to be “on,” and an apparent home-life interference.
Health articles online on reducing Zoom fatigue concentrate on the importance of declining and rescheduling calls for one’s mental health. However, this can only be helpful on a case-to-case basis. We asked a few Dabawenyos working from home their personal ways to reduce Zoom fatigue so it doesn’t result in burnout.
1. “Turn off video during meetings. Also, limit meetings to 15 minutes to one hour, max. Turning off video during meetings lessens anxiety. Pwede man mag-on og video before mag-end ang meeting. [In the office], we rarely turn on the video labi na pag long meetings. It also helps conserve data and bandwidth.”
-- Bam Basan-Anino
2. “As an online worker, I usually spend four or five hours of screen time on Zoom/Gmeets every day (cumulative), excluding other things like preparation and random browsing on the side.
So, kung naa koy free time. I try my best to move away from screen/laptop. Rest my mind and eyes by exercising sa balay or usahay mugawas ko sa neighborhood kung di kaayo init for fresh air ug para makakita kog something green like plants or flowers. I do this para ma-restart akong mind ug ma-refresh maski 30 minutes lang or less kay pagbalik sa balay online meet na pud.
-- Kenneth Bryan Meniado
3. In our company, we are mandated to say no to the meetings that we are not primary participants. And really, ask for breaks if you need to during long meetings. For me, it usually takes 8 hours in a day in Zoom.
-- Camella Anne Arellano
4. Literally just stare out in the distance or at the sky -- anything that isn’t digital for a few minutes. I read that the blues or greens of scenery help your eyes and mind to relax, or talking to an actual person also helps.
-- Isa Petalcorin
5. I create boundaries, like, 7pm onwards, di na ako magzo-Zoom niyan unless really needed or set schedule siya 1 to 2 weeks prior. May set time lang din ako to all Zoom meetings. For example, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. kasi I need time to create things.
I also don’t accept talking to webinars kapag di ko gusto or sa tingin ko kakain lang oras for me. I don’t attend webinars kapag alam kong di makakatulong sa akin.
-- Pia Duran