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Reducing Virtual Fatigue and Stress

A recent MetLife survey found that two out of three employees state they are feeling more stressed now, compared to before the pandemic.1

And, 34% felt tired for more than half their workday!1

Some of the fatigue and stress is coming all these video meetings. 



What about YOU? Are you feeling fatigued and stressed?

Looking at brainwaves, another study found markers associated with overwork and stress are significantly higher in video meetings than non-meeting work like writing emails.2

Turns out that high levels of sustained concentration fatigue begins to set in 30-40 minutes into a meeting!

And, with days filled with video meetings, stress begins to set in about two hours.

Read the recommendations below for help. And, please let me know what other strategies work for you. 

Here's What YOU Can Do:

  • Take regular breaks every two hours to let your brain re-charge 
  • Limit meetings to 25 or 50 minutes - allowing you 5-10 minutes between meetings
  • Stand up. If my meeting is just an hour or so, I often set it up on my standing desk. I have way more energy when I'm standing. 
  • Avoid multitasking. The research is clear - we really can't multitask. When we juggle more than one mental task, the brain actually switches back and forth between the two. Multitasking requires more brain power. And this can actually reduce your productive time by 40%.3
  • Switch to phone calls, text, or emails. Ask yourself if every conversation needs a face-to-face interaction. 
  • Hide self-view. I've read that we tend to look at that tiny picture of ourselves on the screen (lol, and I thought it was just ME). You can always check the lighting and view and then click "hide self-view". Of course, people can still see you, but you can't see yourself. Or, I prefer just putting a post-it over the picture.
  • Turn off the camera. If you're not talking, try turning off the camera and stand up and stretch or move. 
  • Schedule at least one screen-free day each week.  
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Look at something other than a screen that's 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes in order to avoid eye strain.4 


1 - https://www.metlife.com/content/dam/metlifecom/us/ebts/pdf/MetLife-Employee-Benefit-Trends-Study-2020.pdf

2 - https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2020/07/08/future-work-good-challenging-unknown/

3 - https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/xhp274763.pdf

4 - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321536#supporting-evidence


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