To factor in online fatigue is to overcome it!

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These days, preparing for a meeting is both simpler and more complex than before. Avoiding tiring commutes was one reason to rejoice in WFH! However, if you’re wondering why working from home leaves you more tired than it should – and what you could do to alleviate the fatigue and keep yourself focused and motivated, read on!

First, it’s important to identify what’s causing the fatigue:

  • The long hours of virtual meetings which take a toll on your eyes, your ears, your back and yes – your wellbeing.
  • Lack of synchrony between voice and video (due to internet connectivity issues) means you have to strain to hear better which adds to the fatigue.
  • The pressure of proving participation is more difficult online – and team members can feel they have to work harder to ensure that they are seen as engaged and invested.
  • The difficulty for the presenter to gauge audience reactions is greater – since in the virtual meeting room it is near impossible to make out from body language, facial expressions whether your presentation is going well or not.
  • Online meetings feel longer than physical meetings. There’s less scope for camaraderie and coffee breaks that would normally ease both mind and body.
  • Zoning out – or getting bored. This has to do with the human brain’s ability to concentrate. It seems the optimum time limit for pure focus and absorbed concentration is 10 minutes. Every additional 10 minutes weakens your powers of attention. Post 30 minutes your body refuses to co-operate, making your brain work much harder to stay in the zone. And if it’s an hour-long meeting, it’s (almost) as good as not being there!

Given these issues, here are a few practical and thoughtful tips:

i) Schedule shorter meetings.

ii) Try and avoid back-to-back meetings. If unavoidable, ensure there are at least 15-minute comfort breaks in between – during which you should walk around, stretch, relax, reboot your mind and recharge your energy.

iii) Get a comfortable chair! This sounds like basic advice – but so many problems would be solved by ensuring the workspace is comfortable. In fact, this is one advantage of WFH – you can customize it precisely to your personal needs!

iv) Upgrade your technology and internet connections to minimize the strain and lack of synchrony. An earlier blog post covers some basics which you might like to revisit.

v) Don’t insist on overly-formal protocols. Sipping a cup of tea or coffee while online and keeping a bottle of water handy are essential to productivity and attentiveness.

vi) Consider other options – telephonic conversations can seem remarkably refreshing in these overly screen-dependent times!