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10 ways to fight Zoom fatigue
Video conferencing will be a long-term reality for many professionals – and so will Zoom fatigue. Here's how leaders can mix things up to make meetings more meaningful and engaging
6. Invite the CEO to Zoom bomb
“Video conference fatigue is real. At Lumentum, we’ve started breaking things up a bit where we can. For example, our CEO will occasionally 'Zoom bomb' conference calls. We make this happen by providing a list of meeting credentials to our CEO, and when he has time, he will do a surprise drop in on those meetings to boost morale and spend a few minutes understanding what different teams are working on to stay more connected with our virtual team members."
"Another example comes from one of our executives who is not fond of being on video so he changes his photo daily background photo to reference a different 'this date in history.' It has become a challenge to see who can identify the image and reference the historical milestone before others on the call.
Lastly, our head of sales recently grew a full beard, and then over the course of a couple of weeks would change his look … first a 'chin strap' beard, then 'mutton chops' and so on. Essentially, whatever you can do to bring a little personality and levity to the meeting is appreciated.” – Ralph Loura, CIO, Lumentum
7. Variety is the spice of Zoom
“One of the best ways to fight Zoom fatigue is to introduce some variety. Once you attend too many meetings, you’ll get bored of the endless loop of mic/camera checks and tedious agendas. My first suggestion would be to try out meetings with a topic that makes you bond instead of talk about work. For example, we have ‘campfires’ once per week where a team member talks about a topic of their choice so we can learn more about them.”
“The second suggestion is to alternate between video and audio calls – not everyone wants to be seen. Also, make sure to arrange some meetings without the presence of a manager so your employees can talk more freely. Finally, vary the times because not everyone is an early bird and not everyone prefers meetings in the afternoon: switch things around.” – Malte Scholz, CEO and co-founder, Airfocus
8. Play a game
“Play a short game or ask someone to get a ‘brain teaser’ ready for your meeting. The possibilities are endless. Because our business is coffee, we might guess which style of brew someone drank that morning. One easy game is Truth and Lies. Each person gives three facts and one lie about themselves. It’s up to everyone else to decide which is the lie.”
“To sharpen observational skills, try turning off the video and asking everyone what one person in the group is wearing or what object is in the background of one person’s camera. Do this towards the end of the meeting and see who gets closest to the correct answer. It’s amazing how we can see one another for 30 minutes and still miss many details.”
“Show and Tell is an old game, but it’s great for team-building and gathering insights on your co-workers. These are simple and fun ideas that put no pressure on anyone to perform and can be used anytime during a meeting.” – Alex Azoury, founder & CEO, Home Grounds
9. Lighten up
“Let the humor flow organically. After all, humor is a great coping mechanism especially in light of the additional stress and fear of uncertainty. So, as a team leader, lead the way and show that loosening up and showing more personality is highly encouraged. As long as the humor is in jest and not harmful or too acerbic, all is good.” – Jessica Lim, HR partner, MyPerfectResume
10. Nurture team culture
"Every week, we have one company-wide meeting. Each time we host it, we rotate who leads it and shares their screen. They’re dubbed ‘the boss’ for the duration of the meeting. Before we set up the call, we will have something akin to a roll call on Slack. The first person who sends an emoji sets a theme for the rest of the team. This is a tradition that came about unspoken, which makes it even more entertaining. The ‘boss’ ends meetings by asking if anyone has anything else to cover."
"This question is often met with silence, which can get a little awkward. During our team retreat in Thailand last year, we decided that we needed a magic word to end meetings. We decided on ‘Durian’ – a fruit that was very polarizing to the team. Since then, every meeting we’ve held has ended with a cacophony of ‘Durian!’ being said around different parts of the world.”– Krystal Tolani, marketing manager, GoSkills
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