How to Deal With Remote Work Burnout and Zoom Fatigue
It’s hard to remember a time when remote calls and Zoom meetings didn’t completely take over the workday. The COVID-19 pandemic has made both of these situations everyday occurrences to keep people distanced and safe.
Now, even though there’s a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the pandemic, some companies are choosing to keep their employees remote – at least for the time being.
While it might sound more relaxing and easier, the shift from in-person meetings to virtual ones has taken its toll on the American workforce, especially among women. Zoom fatigue has become a real thing, caused by long days of back-to-back meetings and always having to feel “on,” rather than adopting a healthy work-life balance.
So, how can you cope with Zoom fatigue and remote work burnout? Why are these issues affecting women more than men? What can employers do to help their employees, and what can you do to address the issues remote working is causing?
Let’s get some answers.
Why Women Are Struggling
Men are facing challenges with Zoom meetings and remote work. But, Zoom fatigue seems to be worse in women who have been surveyed by various companies and researchers. It might be easy to consider some of the obvious reasons for both genders. Working from home can contribute to the following:
- Feeling less energized because of fewer in-person connections
- A lack of motivation
- Maintaining connections requires more effort
- Working longer hours or feeling like you don’t have set “work” hours during the day
But, women seem to be more susceptible to burnout and Zoom fatigue for one major reason – Self-focused attention. Researchers at Standford discovered that many women feel exhausted by Zoom meetings because they’re worried about how they’re going to come across or appear in a conversation. They’re distracted by seeing themselves and want to be taken seriously as communicators. Obviously, this links to a bigger issue in the workplace when it comes to equality between men and women. But, that’s a topic for another time.
Now that you know why women might experience burnout and Zoom fatigue more easily, what can you do to fight against it?
For Employers: Understand Your Employees’ Lifestyles
If you own or manage a company, taking care of your employees should be your top priority right now. Remote work actually has benefits for employers. It can lower your overhead, and some studies have suggested that remote workers are more productive.
But, remote working is also a huge change for most people who are used to working in a professional setting. It can be especially difficult for working parents who now have to juggle their work lives and home lives under the same roof.
As an employer, you might want to consider strategic planning solutions to help your employees’ productivity. That could include things like letting them work asynchronously unless they are absolutely needed for a meeting. Your planning should also include things like:
- Fostered collaboration between employees
- A virtual whiteboard to keep everyone on the same page
- An overflow list
- A next-steps strategy
If you start to recognize that your employees aren’t motivated or productive, consider what they might be going through at home. It’s more important than ever to celebrate your employees and let them know you appreciate them. Set goals for them and reward them when they’ve accomplished those goals. Offer them days off and flexible hours. Check-in with your employees, one-on-one, at least once a week.
When you take the time to show your workers you really care about their wellbeing, they’re more likely to stay motivated without feeling burnt out by everything they have to do at home. If they do start to feel fatigued, checking in regularly will allow you to give them a break or make positive suggestions that can help.
For Employees: Practice Self-Care
What can you do if you’re in the workers’ seat? How can you make the most of working at home without feeling fatigued by constant meetings or burnt out because you feel like you don’t have a life?
Self-care is one of the best answers.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go to the spa every day and get pampered. It does, however, mean you should find little ways to take care of yourself every day.
Self-care looks different for everyone. For some, it might include waking up early to go on a jog through the neighborhood. For others, it involves curling up with a good book. When you understand what makes you feel relaxed and happy, that’s exactly what you should be taking time out to do.
If you feel like your current remote position isn’t giving you time to achieve the work-life balance you deserve and your mental health is suffering because of it, it could be time to consider a career change. Remote work is here to stay in many industries. And, it can be a great way to make a living. But, it’s crucial to do what you can to fight work burnout and Zoom fatigue.
Whether you’re an employer or employee, working together to create a more positive remote workforce culture will improve the experience for everyone, moving forward. For women, in particular, addressing these issues now can help you to enjoy a remote culture and contribute confidently to Zoom meetings.
This guest post was authored by Ainsley Lawrence
Ainsley is a writer who loves to talk about how business and professionalism intersect with the personal, social, and technological needs of today. She is frequently lost in a good book.