Zoom Fatigue Is Real: 9 Ways to Turn Burnout into Team Building

How to Overcome Zoom Fatigue

Why do we find video calls so draining? There are all sorts of factors: pressure to set the scene, the awkward dance of finding the right moment to unmute yourself and interject, the distraction of staring at your own face in a little square on your computer screen, willing it to look happier and more engaged.

But Zoom can be a lot of fun, and you can absolutely fight Zoom fatigue. We’ve suggested a few options before, like dressing to impress and hiding that sometimes pesky view of yourself. Here are 9 more ways, some fun, some practical, to combat Zoom fatigue and turn burnout into team building.

Focus on the Positive

Zoom Meeting

Look, the fact is, things have been challenging lately. Many of us have a lot on our mind. But we can get plenty of bad news elsewhere–so don’t turn work calls into the Zoom equivalent of doomscrolling. Make a genuine effort to focus on good stuff that’s happening. Maybe highlight a project that exceeded expectations, or a colleague’s happy personal announcement. Hey, have any team members gotten puppies or kittens since remote life began? Show them off!

Focus on the Meeting

A Zoom call might be less draining if you treat it as its own thing, instead of a distraction you can power through by getting other work done too. When it comes time to hop on a video conference, no multitasking! Mute your inbox, forget Signal exists for a little while, and don’t check social media.

It’s All in the Timing

Woman in chair on laptop

Whenever you can, try to schedule meetings for when your teammates are going to be generally energetic and alive. You might aim for late morning, giving everyone a chance to caffeinate and catch up on emails, but not too late that you run roughshod over lunchtime. Avoid any known crunch times for the colleagues you invite. And think long and hard before scheduling a Zoom sesh for 4 p.m. on a Friday.

…And in the Time Limit

Seriously, set one if you can. People can see the timer in Zoom, and knowing there’s a deadline might quicken the pace, keeping a five-minute discussion from turning into a 20-minute groaner. Or set challenges in time increments: “We will discuss X for just the next 10 minutes…”

Break Through with Icebreakers

These are great for dedicated team building games, a brief diversion during virtual meetings, or during a happy-hour gathering.

Any sort of simple game can work here, but the best are those that challenge people to bring something personal to the meeting to talk about. Send the “players” to find, say, an unusual hat with a story behind it, or their favorite mug. Or before the meeting, tell everyone to wear a T-shirt they got in an unusual place, and then share the stories to start the event.

Change the Scenery

Woman in yard on laptop

For a change of pace, Zoom from a different place in your house. If you always Zoom at your desk, try using your tablet or phone and Zoom from the couch or your back yard. Or challenge everyone in the meeting to do that.

Take a Stand

Or make your next meeting a chance to stretch your legs and move around a bit. That can be as simple as suggesting everyone stand up, if possible. Tilt the camera upward, or stand a little farther away from the screen. If your team is into yoga, say, you can run through a simple pose or three.

Play Tour Guide

For something more involved, put Zoom on your mobile device and take turns giving tours of your home office, your house, or your yard. Not everyone will be comfortable doing that, so don’t make it mandatory, but it can be a fun way for a team member to show off a little more personality than you usually get from a grid of faces on your computer screen.

Turn to the Professionals

Watson Adventures’ virtual games and scavenger hunts use Zoom to connect friends, colleagues, and remote teams around the country, and even around the world. Whether your team wants to travel the globe, show off their trivia chops, or solve a murder, we have a game for them. And with different options for run-time, icebreaker addons, international editions of our games, and the new Mix & Mingle Virtual Games, we can customize the experience for any group.


Photo credits: Smiling in Zoom photo by visuals on Unsplash; Meeting in armchair photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels; Backyard meeting photo by Yan from Pexels