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HireMyVA Podcast 59- What is your take on the “Zoom Fatigue” phenomenon?

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Episode Summary

Zoom Fatigue is a condition brought on by the frequent use of the Zoom platform. An individual may experience this now-common phenomena, when they feel perpetually drained, worn out, and fatigued as a result of having to participate in video conferences or meetings all the time.

According to the science supporting this idea, humans are intuitively programmed to take up on indications other than just what was said by the person next to them while they are communicating. This includes both verbal and nonverbal indicators. This natural function is greatly reduced when using video conferencing, which drains the users.

Great article on National Geographic about this: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/zoom-fatigue-may-be-with-us-for-years-heres-how-well-cope

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Episode Transcription

Dave Braun
Welcome, everyone to the HireMyVA Team and Business Building Podcast, where we help you to reclaim your freedom through hiring and thriving with Virtual assistants without breaking the bank. And of course, if you are with us, as you should be, most of the time, we talk about without breaking your bank, which is the most important bank. I am Dave Braun, and I’m here with my partner, a fantastic business mentor, and coach, but most importantly, and this is the most important thing, he’s just a great friend of mine, Larry Broughton. Larry, how you doing, man? Ah, I’ve got one of these things too. Hold on.

Dave Braun
All right. We’re taking a pause here. Hold on.

Larry Broughton
All right.

Dave Braun
Here’s my applause meter. Are you ready?

Larry Broughton
Yes, It’s very good.

Dave Braun
I need to keep it on my desk instead of hiding it.

Larry Broughton
Exactly. Hello, David. How are you, buddy? Good to see you. What a great week it’s been so far.

Dave Braun
Oh yeah. Crazy busy weeks like normal, huh?

Larry Broughton
Yeah. It’s been great. And thank you for all your friendship and leadership and all these projects we’re working on.

Dave Braun
Absolutely. It’s a pleasure. It’s fun.

Larry Broughton
We have a lot going on.

Dave Braun
Oh, we have a lot going on. That’s the only way to be though, huh?

Larry Broughton
I guess so, it’s why I’m here.

Dave Braun
Well, we’ve got a great question today and it’s something, I think it’s really, really important as we work with our teams remotely because it’s about Virtual Assistants, but it does apply to people and person as well. But here it is. Here’s the question, what is your take or your opinion on the “zoom fatigue” phenomenon?

Larry Broughton
Zoom fatigue. Dave, before we do that, it reminded me thinking about our Victory Masterclass that we just had last Thursday, about how powerful that AHAs section was. And I didn’t get to ask you, like, have you had any AHAs in the past week or victories that you wanna share with the group? And then we can go back and answer the question.

Dave Braun
Well, one of the things that I’ve learned from you and I think that’s so important is obviously leaders are learners, but we as leaders should be having AHA moments all the time.

Larry Broughton
AHA moments. You just stop and reflect on it though. Yeah.

Dave Braun
Yeah. And so I’ve got this booklet, it says our dreams are a source of my wisdom and you have one too.

Larry Broughton
Oh, I’ve got a stack of them, but yes.

Dave Braun
Yeah. Well, they’re available on Store.yoogozi.com. What’s really nice about ’em is they’re just, little, small and you can put ’em in your pocket if you want, but I keep one right at the base of my monitor so that whenever something happens, I just open it up real quick. I put the date and I just write a quick note of what an AHA is. I have a pretty decent collection from now and from the past. So here was one AHA that I thought was really kind of fun. We do an exercise, you talk about the victory masterclass, we do an exercise where we go through and write down our sphere of influence, right?

Larry Broughton
Yep. We do, do that.

Dave Braun
Right. People who we are affecting could be team members, family members, friends, and people we are connected to on social media, in a closer way.

Larry Broughton
Right. And the reason we do that is so that people get their brain around to try to get their brain around that we have a direct and indirect impact on a lot more people than we think that we do. So whether we’re doing great things or we’re cutting corners and doing nefarious things, we could impact people. So that oftentimes includes family, and team members, don’t forget team member’s families because if my business goes down and they lose their job, it’s not just impacting that team member, it’s impacting their family, vendors, and clients. And all of a sudden you start and if you do public speaking or TV or anything like that, your sphere of influence is huge, social media, and stuff. So I’m sorry, Dave, I interrupted you, but I wanna make sure people understand what we’re talking about when we talk about the sphere of influence.

Dave Braun
Yeah. And so one of the things that I realized by doing it this last time is, that there really is a second level of influence, that we’re really talking about. And that second level is that make some of the folks in our class, if their sphere of influence is a hundred thousand, that makes mine go up really by a hundred thousand because I’m influencing the person in the class. Even if I’m not, you know, we’re one of the instructors or the main instructor. But even if I’m a participant in the class, something that I say, a question that I ask could be, you know, lead to a breakthrough for one of the other members in the class as well. So when we are together in a group of people, we have that secondary, that second level effect. If we choose to use it and participate, give comments, ask questions and help others.

Larry Broughton
Some people call this the butterfly effect. Do you know what I mean by that people? Got one butterfly flapping its wings, all of a sudden, if you get this swarm of butterflies, you can feel it, it just this ripple effect happens. It’s like having one little honeybee. What kind of impact can one little honeybee have? But when they’re in a hive, they can actually survive the winters by their body heat and movement of this hive of honeybees. You’d be surprised, right? That’s a great AHA, Dave. I’m glad you started that.

Dave Braun
Yeah, that was good. Well, I guess we should probably get to the question.

Larry Broughton
Let’s go back to the question. So the question was, what are our thoughts about zoom fatigue?

Dave Braun
Right, right.

Larry Broughton
Basically. Well, like anything new, I’m sure there are phenomenon’s that happen. And there are days, not just zoom, I think it’s any kind of video conferencing service. Because I believe that we are built for community and something happens when we have real physical interaction and you actually can feel people’s energy in one room. If you’re an extrovert, that charges you up. But if all day long, you’re looking at this two-dimensional monitor, I can see how it zaps you. I mean, there’s already been plenty of studies that have talked about the blue screen, blue light time. How it can really zap your energy? That’s why Dave got these fancy glasses on. But you know, there are a couple of things that I know from talking to some of our clients, Dave, is seeing themselves on the monitor all the time and that’s one of the things we need to consider.

Larry Broughton
But again, it’s not just zoom. I mean, I do between zoom meetings and Google hangout, I do on bad days, I’m saying bad because I don’t think it’s great either, but it’s better than the alternative. I do think. And that’s when I’m having much contact on days where there’s a lot, it’s several hours a day of zoom meetings. And I know Dave, the ones that really I can feel what’s negatively impacting me, particularly back a year ago when the pandemic first hit and we were just shutting down and people were working from their homes and we didn’t really know, we hadn’t learned how is this really impacting us. We hadn’t developed an etiquette for video conferencing as much as we have, is that I shouldn’t be back to freaking back. And couldn’t figure out why was I so drained after these things? And so now I’m a little bit more disciplined about putting time in between these meetings. But was there anything else with that question? Because I’m sure folks, if you haven’t picked up on this yet, Dave is one of the most prolific readers that I know. And so I’m sure that you have, you’ve probably done a whole research study on this thing since this question came through.

Dave Braun
Well, just a little bit and then thinking about it and what have I done because part of my job has been over the last few years, is having a remote team and my clients are remote. So I’ve been on zoom, pre-pandemic that was with most of my work. And one of the things that have changed for me of course, is it went from part of my stuff on zoom to everything. And I suffered as well from that zoom fatigue too. Whereas like, some of the networking groups then went to zoom meetings and I just couldn’t handle it. The last thing that I wanted to do was have social interactions over what I used as an intense business medium was just different.

Dave Braun
So, I’ve had an issue with that. So, this article national geographic, and you will either link it in the show notes or you guys can look up zoom fatigue, search, zoom fatigue, national geographic, and that’ll come up. But some of the things that they said is, and this is something to really be aware of is they said more women experience it than men. They said 13.8% more. And then long days full of calls with few breaks causes it, as you said earlier, and viewing ourselves on the screen makes it worse. And then the lack of nonverbal cues actually taxes our brain because we’ve gotta work harder to really figure out, well, what is that person saying? What are they meaning? We can’t see the fact that they’re, you know, like right now, if you’re starting to cross your legs or uncomfortably, how close you’re leaning it, you know, it’s harder to see those kinds of things. Right?

Larry Broughton
Yeah. Well, because we know that 80 some percent of communication is non-verbal.

Dave Braun

Larry Broughton
So you’re right. Like, are you leaning in? Are my legs crossed? Are my arms crossed? You’re right. You know, one of the things I started doing a long time ago, almost from the start. It is one of the things I like about zoom that I don’t see with Google hangout, maybe I dunno how to do it, is I— like right now, as we’re talking, I hide myself view. Because I don’t wanna be looking at myself. Because I noticed people are constantly looking at themselves because it’s like a mirror factor, whatever. And so you have to be cautious of that for two reasons. One is most people don’t like looking at themselves in the mirror. That’s number one. And number two, the people that you’re speaking with, if they don’t get the sense that you’re looking at them, they’re not gonna be as engaged. The third thing though, I think one of the things I do like, that you can see yourself is that, you and I have talked about this when we’ve done speaker training and that kind of thing or teaching people how to use it, is that it does allow you to remind yourself, Hey, I need to smile.

Dave Braun
Yeah. What do we call that?

Larry Broughton
Because as you’re saying, since we’ve not picked up on the actual energy from us being in the same room, if I just had my default face on, the energy goes down and people think, might think I’m mad or pissed off or not engaging. Actually, I’m just listening. So, like Google hangout, you can, and same on zoom, you can stop the camera and you can still be present. But to me that feels like, I never know, are they just checking out?

Dave Braun
Right. Are they like doing something else and not engaged. Yeah.

Larry Broughton
Yeah. So those are the problems that we know about zoom. Does national geographic, say, Hey, here are some ways to combat this zoom fatigue?

Dave Braun
Yeah. They actually give several suggestions and some, we kinda talked a little bit about. So, like don’t have zoom calls back to back.

Larry Broughton
Don’t have ’em back to back. Okay. We got that.

Dave Braun
But if you have to have them back to back, you have a, like a 10-minute break between, or at least some kind of a break, stand up and stretch. They talk also—

Larry Broughton
Having a blue light, I think is possible.

Dave Braun

Larry Broughton
Having your brain—

Dave Braun
And having, you know, like I have occupational glasses, it really helps. They have blue light filtering as well as help my eyes not to strain as much. They talk about considering having a zoom-free day. And they say employers should really do that and establish a day where you’re just not gonna be on any zoom calls.

Larry Broughton

Dave Braun
That helps you to recover. Because anytime there’s fatigue, that means you’re tired and you need to rest and get away from whatever that activity is. And then they said, you know, sometimes just do a regular phone call. You don’t have to do a zoom meeting itself. You just do a regular phone call, especially if it’s just one or two people, conference them in. And then, one of the things they talk about is, get a standup desk and just stand, like right now I have a standup desk, but I’m sitting. So that helps your body, you know, any kind of body movement’s gonna help with fatigue.

Larry Broughton
Yeah. You’ve got your standup desk and I like that when I’m over there. You’ve got the adjustable type, right? The type of standup desk that I have is that it’s basically a platform that’s spring-loaded on top of my desk that pushes these handles and it raises up several inches and I’m pretty tall and it’s tall enough for me to put my monitor on there. And that works pretty well. So that does counterbalance the fatigue that is naturally setting in? I do like that.

Dave Braun
And then a couple of things that I do is, I think you talked about, you don’t always have to have your camera on. You don’t always have to have it on.

Larry Broughton
Well, I think depends. Here’s where people need to exercise discernment. It depends on what type of zoom meeting it is. If I’m setting up with a client or a potential client or a sales call, you better have it on.

Dave Braun
You gotta be on.

Larry Broughton
You better have it on. But if it’s like where there are 30 people involved, then it’s a training, or whatever else it is I suppose they’re on. Use discernment, don’t set up a client meeting where you’re trying to do a big pitch to them and say, well, Larry and Dave said, I don’t need to have my camera on. That’s not the message.

Dave Braun
Right. Definitely, with clients, you have to. And even if it’s an important meeting with a team member, you really should. both of you should have it on. But there are other times when you can interact with a team member, you’re just talking, trying to work through a problem and you’re sharing a screen. You don’t have to have your camera on for some of that stuff. Especially like, some of the technical stuff you may be working on. That kind of thing.

Larry Broughton
I’m just gonna tell you my feeling is, being on these calls, a lot of these, when I do see people turn their camera off, I’m just gonna tell you, Dave, I do wonder. So what are they doing? Are they really engaged in the meeting? I’m just doing that. So be careful when you do that.

Dave Braun
That’s true. And then, I think the final thing that makes sense is you don’t have to be right in front of your screen. You can get up and you can walk around like, I’ll just get up and walk around. And of course, if you have your microphone on your computer, it’ll probably pick it up, right now we’re using really nice mics for a good sound. But you know, you can stand up and walk around and be a little bit away from the camera.

Larry Broughton
And again, that depends on what type of meeting it is. I agree with this. Like when we’ve used your whiteboard back there, right?

Dave Braun
And like right now I’m standing up and…

Larry Broughton
Dave, where’d you go? Are you not engaged with this?

Dave Braun
I’m getting a demo.

Dave Braun
The demo thing. So I have a Mat, Anti-fatigue Mat that I stand on. So that happens. In fact, I’ll still stay on it and I’m gonna adjust my monitor a little bit. So you can see the top of my hair. How’s that?

Larry Broughton
You have high hair today. You are one handsome, man.

Dave Braun
I do. It’s kind of sticking up. So you can just do all of those things. I think one of the most important things we talked about though, is you’re gonna have to do anything, is just limit how many zoom calls you do. If you can’t do that, then put a little bit of time in between and give yourself a break. One of the things that always helps me is you may see me on here drinking tea or water. It really helps if you drink a lot and it forces you to get up and go to the bathroom every now and then.

Larry Broughton
Yeah. It’s good. Those are some good tips on zoom fatigue.

Dave Braun
Cool. Anything else?

Larry Broughton
No, I would just encourage people. If you’ve got any additional tips, you’ve got comments about zoom fatigue, if you think that we’re just nutty, go ahead and put it in the comments, wherever you find the comments on that. And it would be helpful for us. We’re trying to expand this podcast, so getting some dialogue going will actually help us do that. But we would like you to give us a thumbs up on it as well. Dave’s gonna remind you of that here in a minute. But if you are part of the HireMyVA Program, then go to the community as well. And you know, a couple of times a month, we do calls using zoom and you can see how we kind of handle these things. So join in on those.

Dave Braun
Yeah. We’d love to have you guys join a program for sure. But for sure, we are glad you joined us today. And in this great podcast, we had a lot of fun. But remember for you guys, building a team and you’re gonna face zoom fatigue and all those kind of things when you have a team. But building a team is the way to reclaim your freedom and we’re here to help you. We’d love you to do these three things right now. So do these. Number one, subscribe to this podcast if you haven’t already done so. Number two, give us a rating, preferably five star. If you’ve given us a rating already, that’s great, we don’t need another one. But leave a comment, as Larry said, below the video, any comment, if you have a question, whatever, because it helps us to spread the word. And then, number three, go to Hiremyva.com for more information on our course and community. Remember, even without experience, you can learn how to prepare for hire and thrive with Virtual Assistants. Larry and I have helped folks, we’re continuing to help folks. We’d love to help you too. So just go to Hiremyva.com for more information.

Larry Broughton
That’s right. Hey, do yourself a favor, my friends. Do the world a favor. Go do something absolutely significant today. All right, my friends. God bless you. God keep you. God hold you. All right. Go get them. See you later.

Dave Braun
Okay, bye.

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