The curious case of Internet Fatigue and WFH

Malini Agarwal, Founder of MissMalini Entertainment and Creative Director, Malini’s Girl Tribe, gives some tips on working efficiently from home.
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Remember the time when we used to relish working from home in our PJs? Well as they say, be careful what you wish for, because a lot of us have now spent over 400 days in a loop of PJs and Zoom calls and Google Meets! Some of the unfortunate side effects of this has been a spike in screen time - once upon a time relished by children all over the world, but no so much now, when it comes to “school from home”.

If you can’t quite figure out what’s bringing you down, remember, you are not alone. While there are a few benefits of working from home, namely the aforementioned PJs, endless supply of snacks from your own kitchen, and the absence of long commutes, it’s perfectly normal to be feeling “stuck”, mostly because this was not your choice, and that can be very frustrating.

Plus you miss people! Whether it was walking by a colleague’s desk or having lunch together, it’s lonely working in a silo by yourself. And believe it or not, you’re living a more intense work-life. You’re looking at faces all day without taking visual breaks which can also be socially exhausting.

I think one of the key factors for Zoom fatigue is the seemingly endless video meetings in a day (that often could have been a simple email). So while Zoom meetings aren’t leaving our calendars anytime soon, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the monotony. In fact, many things that you probably couldn’t do if you were working from the office. Read on -

Take short but frequent breaks

Play with your fur baby if you have one. Schedule a 5-10 minute break between Zoom calls to play fetch with your pet. Pets are an immediate mood lifter. If not, take a breather to get up and drink some water, do some stretching or just close your eyes for a 10-minute power nap. Even shifting your gaze from the screen can help combat strain over time.

Be Present

I find that one of things overloading my brain is trying to overly multi-task. When the Zoom meeting is a ‘cameras off’ situation, you might be tempted to check Facebook, your emails, or do something else while half-listening to our calls. But the truth is, the more you multi-task the more you’re draining yourself and your ability to absorb information that you’ll have to spend another on Zoom call, clarifying!

Keep meetings brief

Plan your agenda in advance so your meetings don’t go into an endless hour of “am I audible” and “you are on mute”.

Use “speaker view”

Oddly enough, seeing yourself on camera all day is possibly having an impact on your self-esteem because you probably never spent that much time looking at yourself and spotting flaws during work meetings. To combat this, I recommend “speaker view”, it also makes it easier to focus on what one person is saying.

Take notes on paper

Instead of keeping everything virtual, use pen and paper. Research shows that writing things down activates your brain differently. You have better retention and memory, and you force yourself to look away from the screen often.

Phone calls are still an option. You can control how you communicate, and instead of doing back to back video calls, do a meeting on audio alone. Just doing ‘cameras off’ won’t always do the trick. This way, you can close your eyes while you discuss your work, you could even throw in a foot massage or opt to lie down and take that call.

All in all, there’s a lot of Internet fatigue for those of us working from home, but I think applying a few of these practices into your schedule and focusing on the things that make work from home “fun” and convenient can really make a difference.

Now excuse me while I go play with my dog and put on a eye mask before my next meeting.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)