How to Overcome Virtual Meeting Fatigue
As working from home and working remotely has grown, so, too, have virtual meetings.
By definition, virtual meetings are “real-time interactions that take place over the Internet using integrated audio and video, chat tools, and application sharing.” Virtual meetings are often held by Zoom, GoTo Meeting, Microsoft Teams, or another virtual meeting platform.
Having virtual meetings is a great luxury because it allows us to work from any location at any time without the stress of travel. Especially during times of COVID-19, virtual meetings are essential. However, the more virtual meetings you have, the more tired you may feel—a term we now know as “virtual meeting fatigue”.
Virtual meeting fatigue is “the feeling of exhaustion that often occurs after attending a series of virtual video meetings.”
Virtual meetings and in-person meetings aren’t terribly different; the main difference is time. With in-person meetings, you normally account for travel, bathroom breaks, snacks, etc. But, with virtual, some of that can fall to the wayside, and your schedule can fill up really fast.
To help you better balance your schedule, prepare for back-to-back meetings, and break up your day, I asked our calendar-packed experts for tips. Many of our Client Success team members juggle meeting-filled calendars daily. So, I asked them for their tips and advice.
The full interview is below; for a shortened visual version, watch our video, How to Overcome Virtual Meeting Fatigue:
Meet Our Interviewees
Question 1: How do you come prepared for each meeting when you have multiple back-to-back?
Kelly: At the beginning of each week, and really each day, I review my calendar, review any agendas, and have a mental check-in with myself just to be sure I’m prepared for those back-to-backs.
And because back-to-back meetings require a little bit more mental effort, I try to ensure that my attendees and I are able to focus on the content of the meeting rather than working to overcome any audio challenges. So, this is why a good headset with a good microphone is important when trying to replace those face-to-face meetings with a video call.
Bob: This happens a lot. The most important step for me is to check my meeting schedule the night before. Usually, I do this at the end of the day before shutting down, rather than just in the morning. This allows me to preview what’s been scheduled, what we’re covering, and check for things I might still need to do.
This helps me feel calmer and a little more in control the next day—no matter how busy it ends up becoming. I check the requirements for each meeting (phone numbers for conference calls, or see if access codes are needed to join) so that I have time to reach out to the organizer if necessary.
Lastly, I have a set process for notes. I keep them separate from each other with the dates and meeting titles clearly listed. For a new meeting, I move my previous notes away and start a new page to help me focus.
Taylor: I document my daily schedule with what I need to do for each meeting, any follow-up items, and anything I need to remember to do throughout the day. I like to have one for “today” and one for “tomorrow.” I use these lists to keep track of how much time I have to complete certain tasks, so I use my time wisely and know that I’m on top of my to-dos.
For my meetings, I come prepared by doing my homework ahead of time to help me focus and not try to multitask. I prepare the day before or the morning of to set myself up for success each day.
Gary: I try to be prepared, do my homework, and look at our last conversation, so that when I go into each meeting, I’m aware of the basic outline for that meeting.
Question 2: What is your favorite thing to do for a break?
Kelly: I take my headset off, and I listen to music. Otherwise, sometimes I take my computer out to the patio for a change of scenery.
Bob: For me, it’s moving. Just moving and stretching helps me think and process information. In fact, walking and talking with coworkers has led to some great solutions and ideas. Walking by myself helps to clear my head—especially on busy days.
Taylor: Just getting up and going outside. Whether it’s going for a quick walk, looking at the garden, or walking down the driveway, anything outside helps me unwind for a bit, relieve any stress, and helps prepare me to return to work.
My other favorite thing to do is try and block an entire hour for lunch. I know a lot of people are different, but I find taking the lunch break helps me refocus for the afternoon.
Gary: Any chance I get, I try to get away from my computer. I take care of any tasks that aren’t notes or client-specific. Walking away gives me a mental break so that I can prepare for the next step I need to take in my day.
I hope these answers were helpful for you to overcome virtual meeting fatigue.
One of the best things you can do to help avoid virtual meeting fatigue is to reduce the number of meetings you have each day. For that, you need streamlined, informative, and consistent communication.
Workflow automation can help.
From our blog Implementing BPM & Workflow Automation Into Your Insurance Agency, we define workflow automation as: “a created series of automated actions for the steps in a business process. It is used to improve everyday business processes because when your work flows, you can concentrate on getting more done and focusing on the things that matter. It allows teams to spend more time on the actual work itself and less time on the processes that support them.”
Leveraging the power of workflow automation, you can simplify your to-dos, streamline communication, and possibly eliminate some of your meetings. Using Automated Workflows in AgencyBloc, clients are able to create consistent, meaningful communications that automatically send to clients, prospects, agents, and staff to keep everyone informed and on the right track.
Finally, learn what your favorite break is and make sure to work it in every single day. One of my favorite things to do is take a break and check on my plants. It gives me time to reset and recharge while also ensuring my little green friends are thriving.
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