by Accountability Coach Morgan Stanley

In 2020, the business threat no one saw coming hit – and hit hard. The COVID pandemic has caused the world as we know it to change completely, and businesses were forced to shift swiftly to stay afloat. We were so used to going into an office each day – interacting face-to-face with our teammates, sitting in a conference room around a single table for meetings, grabbing lunch together.

It’s not that we didn’t live in a world with virtual capabilities before, but we had never been forced to go fully virtual in the blink of an eye. Zoom, Google Hangouts, and similar meeting programs were familiar to some, yet still foreign to many. But familiar or not, I don’t think anyone was prepared for 8+ hours of virtual calls per day, every day, for an extended period of time. The long days have gotten the best of all of us from time to time in what we like to call ‘Zoom burnout.’

What is Zoom burnout?

The clock hits five, and you realize you’ve been staring at a computer screen, without leaving your home, for hours on end. The only humans you have probably seen in person are your family and/or roommates. And you know tomorrow holds the same. Trust me – I’m right there with you.

The day I truly experienced this was the day I knew I needed to make a change to my everyday. Here are a few best practices I implemented in my life to avoid Zoom burnout:

1. Move your body

Set breaks during the day to get up and do something active. Hit that step goal or do some stretching. Anything to get your body moving will be worth it.

2. Eat foods that boost your immune system

It’s true that what you put in is what you get out. You will have more energy throughout the day when you eat foods that provide your body with the nutrients it needs.

3. Stand up

If you can make it happen, stand up during your calls instead of sitting. A stand/sit desk is a huge game changer, or you can even use the breakfast bar in your kitchen. Sitting all day can be very draining.

4. Keep your meetings interactive

Make sure you are contributing to the meeting to stay engaged. Take notes and use the chat box or call on others to keep everyone on the screen engaged and participating.

5. Get away from your screen after hours

This is so important. Once your work day is over, close your laptop and put away your phone. Go read a book, play outside with your kids or go on a walk. Take advantage of your time away from the screen.

6. Stick with your routine

Whatever your routine was before COVID, do your best to keep it up. Not only is it beneficial for your mental health, it will also make the long days fly by as you keep them full of your usual activities.

7. Act like every call is an in-person meeting and bring your best self

Whatever makes you the best version of yourself, keep doing it even while working from home. You, and your performance, will be better for it.

Incorporating these small items into my day has helped tremendously in reducing my Zoom burnout. I’m more productive and don’t feel nearly as drained when the work day is done.

The reality of it is Zoom calls are not going away anytime soon – we all have to find ways to make the best of our new “normal.” Find your best practices. You will be better, happier and more productive when you let your mind and body “Zoom out.”