By Eric Woodruff, CPA, CCIFP
Partner, Director of Audit & Assurance Services
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom was an emergency alternative to in-person meetings. Now, it appears it’s here to stay.
But are you “Zoomed out?” Totally understandable!
Video meeting tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and WebEx have their ups and downs. The biggest upside is their recreation of a face-to-face meeting when not everyone can get together in one place. The downside is that we can have trouble being present in the moment when we’re distanced from people. When we meet in cyberspace, we don’t think anyone can see our eyes shifting to our inboxes or looking down at our phones. All in all, you may not be as focused during a Zoom call as you are within the four walls of your office’s conference room.
Here are some tips for keeping virtual meetings fresh and your mind sharp:
- Make sure all participants are on video in a place where they can concentrate — don’t drive and Zoom!
- Start the call with an amusing anecdote or an engaging picture / video to ease everyone into the meeting.
- Make time for questions and comments at the end of the call; give each participant a turn to speak.
- If you have control over the timing of the meetings, avoid lengthy back-to-back virtual meetings.
- After the meeting, move around, go outside, take a break from your computer screen and revitalize your eyes and body.
- Abide by the 20-20-20 rule: After looking at a screen for 20 minutes, shift your focus for 20 seconds toward something 20 feet away. This will relax your eyes and prevent strain.
- Spice things up! Try out fun filters or backgrounds. Host a meeting with a themed dress code. Introduce your pets or give virtual tours of your home offices! Break up the monotony of seeing the same grid of faces each week. To that end, bring in surprise guests for a few minutes — your kids, your spouses, a CEO that may not often get to attend your regular meetings, etc.
Don’t beat yourself up about burnout. Zoom fatigue is real, and it happens to the best of us. Even the founder of Zoom, Eric Yuan, reported fatigue after he once had 19 video calls back to back.
There are simple solutions for alleviating burnout. Give the ones above a try before your next virtual meeting! We wish you the best of luck!