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Zoom Fatigue Remedies: Reclaim Focus in Your Virtual Meetings

Remember those days when collaborating remotely felt effortless? We’d hop on a quick video call, brainstorm ideas, and move on with our day. Little did we know that video calls would take over our entire workday. 😅

Just like ‘Googling’ became synonymous with searching the web, we’ve all experienced ‘Zooming’ becoming synonymous with video conferencing.

Though it has its advantages in bridging physical distances and time zones, a video call is sometimes the last thing I want to add to my workday. And I know I’m not the only one who feels so.

A recent study by Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) confirmed what many of us suspected: video call fatigue, or Zoom fatigue, is a real phenomenon.

Virtual meetings sometimes made up over half of my working hours, and I bore the brunt——the mental drain, the struggle to focus, the ever-present eye strain after spending hours ‘Zooming’. Zoom fatigue also manifests in several other ways that impact our motivation and overall well-being—irritability and insomnia, to name a few.

But it’s possible to overcome Zoom fatigue with effective strategies. I did, and you can too!

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Understanding Zoom Fatigue

Zoom fatigue leaves most of us feeling like ‘Zoombies’. It’s a specific kind of exhaustion caused by the intense concentration required during Zoom meetings.

The researchers from VHIL, who confirmed Zoom fatigue’s existence, also developed a tool to measure the level of fatigue people experience from virtual interactions—the Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale (ZEF Scale)! 

It’s a 15-question survey that analyzes five dimensions of fatigue:

  • General fatigue: This covers mental and physical exhaustion and how exhausted you feel overall after a video call
  • Social fatigue: This assesses how much you avoid social interaction or feel drained after video meetings
  • Emotional fatigue: This gauges how emotionally spent you are following video conferences
  • Visual fatigue: This looks at eye strain and irritation caused by screen time during video calls
  • Motivational fatigue: This evaluates how demotivated or lacking in energy you feel after video meetings

Once we understand why Zoom meetings leave us feeling ‘zoned out’, we can start figuring out ways to fight back and make the whole video conferencing experience less exhausting.

Signs of Zoom burnout

So here’s the deal: The constant focus, the unnatural eye strain, and the information overload—all take a toll on you. The key is to spot the signs before they drag you down.

But the good news is that Zoom fatigue is easy to recognize and counter!

The trusty Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale (ZEF Scale) lists some telltale signs:

  • Eye strain: Staring at a screen for extended periods disrupts our natural blinking pattern, leading to dry, itchy eyes and blurred vision
  • Difficulty focusing during meetings: Zoom fatigue can zap our concentration. We often find our mind wandering, struggling to retain information, and missing key points during meetings
  • Increased stress and irritability: The constant pressure to stay connected, energized, and enthusiastic during Zoom meetings, along with potential technical glitches and information overload, can contribute to heightened stress and make you tired. Staying ‘on’ all the time is exhausting!
  • Difficulty sleeping: The blue light emitted from screens disrupts our sleep cycle, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. We’re often left feeling mentally wired, further hindering our attempts at relaxation
  • Neck and shoulder pain: Maintaining a good posture during video calls can be challenging. I, for one, find myself leaning into my laptop a lot more than I’d like. A hunched posture during calls can lead to muscle tension and pain over time. Not exactly the souvenir you want from a virtual meeting
  • Headaches: As I found out the hard way, eye strain, combined with stress and irregular hydration during calls, can all contribute to tension headaches
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What Causes Zoom Fatigue?

Zoom fatigue can sneak up on you. You think you’re immune but suddenly, your social battery runs out, and before you know it, you’ve lost track of what’s being said on the call—till someone calls out your name and expects you to respond. Believe me, I’ve been there. 

But what causes it? There are several things to blame: 

Cognitive load

We’re all aware that video calls require a lot of mental effort. You’re not just listening; you’re also actively processing visual cues, facial expressions, and body language. This constant cognitive strain can overload your working memory and lead to difficulty concentrating and retaining information

Unnatural, prolonged eye contact

Unlike natural conversations where our gaze wanders freely, on Zoom calls, we’re locked in intense, close-up eye contact. Talk about mental exhaustion!

Excessive screen exposure

Staring at screens for hours doesn’t help either. It strains our eyes, contributes to eye irritation, triggers headaches, and disrupts sleep with all that blue light 

The Spotlight Effect

Being on camera can lead to self-consciousness. We’re often overly critical of ourselves, and having to examine our own (imperfect) appearance and compare it to that of better-dressed or better-prepared colleagues can be tough. The Spotlight Effect, where we feel constantly scrutinized, adds another layer of mental fatigue

Restricted mobility

I remember in-person meetings where we could shift in our seats, stretch our legs, and walk around in a conference room. Zoom meetings often confine us to a chair, restricting movement and making us stiff and uncomfortable. This lack of physical release contributes to feeling drained


There’s also the challenge of missing subtle nonverbal cues we pick up on in face-to-face meetings. We often end up feeling hypervigilant, trying to overcompensate for the lack of a furrowed brow or a small smile

Tech troubles

How could we forget the frustration of technical glitches? Screen sharing gone wrong, dropped connections, communication lag—all these disrupt the flow of a meeting and leave us feeling even more drained

But enough about the woes of Zoom! We’re now ready to make virtual meetings less taxing.

Let’s look at remedies and helpful Zoom tips that aided me in my battle against ‘Zoom fatigue’ and made me feel energized.

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10 Zoom Fatigue Remedies

Here are 10 remedies I’ve found helpful in reclaiming my sanity and conquering Zoom fatigue during my virtual workday:

1. Shorter, sharper meetings

First things first, ditch marathon meetings. Reschedule lengthy Zoom meetings or consider alternative communication methods such as email and async team chats for non-critical discussions.

Because, honestly, too many traditional meetings can be productivity killers. They force everyone to be available at the same time, regardless of individual schedules or time zones. 

ClickUp Chat
Chat async, retain context, and share files with your team using ClickUp Chat to avoid unnecessary meetings

ClickUp’s Chat view has been a savior for me in this regard. It lets my team and I respond to messages at our own convenience, catch up on context with dedicated group discussions for specific tasks and projects, and even share important attachments without missing a beat.

And if you must have meetings, prepare a well-defined communication plan in advance. It will help set clear expectations and keep everyone on track. It can outline the purpose, agenda, and format of the meeting beforehand so participants can come prepared.

Plan out communication strategies with your team using ClickUp’s Communication Plan Template

The ClickUp Communication Plan Template is a robust tool designed to simplify your team’s communication strategy quickly and precisely. It helps you:

  • Enhance dialogue within your team and with external partners
  • Structure communication targets, ambitions, schedules, and involved parties
  • Ensure uniform communication across various departmental teams

This template allows teams to reduce the need for back-to-back video meetings. This ensures objectives and updates are conveyed effectively through well-organized channels, possibly reducing the frequency and duration of video calls. 

Moreover, the template can help you decide when a video call is necessary and when communication can be handled asynchronously via other means. That’s your key to alleviating the stress associated with constant video conferencing.

2. Take a break

Schedule Zoom meetings with short breaks or silent gaps. A few minutes to stretch, grab a drink, or simply look away from the screen will improve everyone’s energy levels.

I remember how we did this during our sprint planning call. We spent 6 hours brainstorming, ideating, and executing together in a Zoom meeting. But we broke every 50 minutes for 10 minutes—to grab a cookie, pet our dogs, and practice some long, long exhales.

My best tip? Keep a reusable water bottle by your side and stay hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration can worsen videoconference fatigue.

3. Declutter your background

A messy background can be distracting for everyone. Most videoconferencing platforms let you modify your background to a clean, professional setting or blur it all together so the focus is on the conversation, not the clutter.

4. Minimize multitasking

Resist the urge to check emails or social media during calls. Trust me, it actually divides our focus and increases mental strain. Stay present in the meeting for better engagement and less brain fog. It’ll also help you recall key points from the meeting later when you need them.

5. Post-meeting wind-down

Don’t forget to give yourself time to breathe between consecutive Zoom meetings. Schedule a buffer to decompress, take a walk, listen to calming music, or do deep breathing exercises. Avoid back-to-back video calls!

ClickUp Calendar
Use ClickUp’s Calendar view to schedule buffer time between meetings and phone calls

Pro tip: I use ClickUp’s Calendar View to give myself enough breathing room between video calls. And yes, I try to schedule my breaks, too, so I religiously take them.

6. Use screen recording tools

Let technology be your friend! Screen recording tools free you from note-taking during important discussions so you can review key points later.

Screen recorders also allow asynchronous updates, potentially eliminating the need for meetings altogether.

ClickUp Clips
Work at your own pace and eliminate Zoom fatigue with ClickUp Clips

One tool I strongly recommend is ClickUp Clips, one of the many useful tools that ClickUp’s project management platform offers!

You can use this tool to record short screencasts and share them asynchronously with colleagues to review information at their own pace.

It also lets you share ideas and updates directly within your workflow, saving time and reducing email clutter.

Here’s how ClickUp Clips combat Zoom fatigue:

  • Reduce the number of meetings: Clips automatically transcribe recordings, letting you quickly jump around the video and find key points from the discussion
  • Enable remote collaboration: You can share clips for asynchronous updates, embed them in tasks, or download them for further distribution through your workplace communication tools
  • Lead to actionable communication: Convert Clips into ClickUp Tasks and assign owners, ensuring decisions turn into actions

7. Strategic seating

When setting up your video call, position yourself in a well-lit area with a neutral background. Avoid sitting opposite a bright window—eye strain is no fun! 

When feeling extremely overloaded, you can even get up and try taking walking Zoom meetings (and keep your camera off). Walking is shown to boost cognition and reduce the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in our bloodstream.  

8. Optimize your view

Don’t feel obligated to be in grid view all the time. Experiment!

Use speaker view to focus on the current speaker, or hide your own self-view to feel less self-conscious. There’s no shame in this—it helps us stay focused on the conversation.

9. Prioritize sleep and exercise

Sleep and exercise are crucial! It might seem obvious, but they’re often overlooked.

Prioritize healthy habits outside of work. Regular exercise is a great stress reliever and promotes better sleep. Aim for 7–8 hours a night to keep yourself sharp and crush those video calls.

10. Promote a positive environment

We can all contribute to a more respectful and engaging video conference environment by maintaining Zoom etiquette.

On your next Zoom call:

  • Mute yourself when not speaking to avoid background noise
  • Avoid jargon and speak clearly to ensure everyone understands
  • Join on time and avoid multitasking during the call
  • Smile, nod, and use appropriate gestures to show you’re engaged, even on mute
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Beat Zoom Fatigue: Reclaim Focus and Time with ClickUp 

Let’s face it, video conferencing is here to stay. But it doesn’t have to be draining.

Remember, effective meetings go beyond just technology. We must facilitate a positive and respectful meeting environment where everyone feels comfortable contributing and engaging in the discussion.

ClickUp can help you reduce unnecessary zooming. ClickUp Clips helps you share updates and ideas just as effectively, freeing you and your colleagues from lengthy meetings and Zoom fatigue.

So, sign up, as I did, and join the fight against Zoom fatigue! 

Try ClickUp today!

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