Like many things in business, COVID-19 has changed how we conduct meetings. Not only has there been a change to where we have our meetings (goodbye meeting rooms, hello Zoom, Webex, and GoToMeeting), but also the amount we meet. No, it’s not your imagination, you have been in a lot more meetings the last few months. Studies have shown an 40% increase in internal team meetings since April. Meeting fatigue is becoming very real, and with more on the horizon, it is time to take action. Here are three tips that will help you improve your overall experience:
Counter Repetition by Changing Things Up
Some of the fatigue you’re feeling may come from repetition. If each meeting feels like a repeat of the last one, try changing things up, starting with location. Move to a different room or near a window where you can get some proper sunlight. If you have the opportunity, take your meeting outdoors. A simple change in scenery, and some fresh air, can make a big difference.
It’s also worth considering other small changes. These can include switching to a more comfortable chair (nothing distracts you in a meeting like back pain), your background, or even your choice of beverage.
People who multitask don’t always recognize they’re doing it, and it may be one of the reasons for meeting fatigue. Studies have shown that multitasking negatively affects productivity and makes it harder to retain information. Trying to juggle multiple tasks at once may be making your meetings more difficult and stressful, which leads to fatigue. You may find that simply closing your tabs, ignoring your email, and putting your phone on airplane mode will make your meetings more productive, and help you feel less drained afterward.
Whenever Possible, Use Phone, Text, and Email to Replace Scheduled Meetings
One reason for the increase in online meetings is that they‘ve replaced many face-to-face encounters and conversations during the workday. What once could have been discussed in the hallway now must be done using technology. Before you send out your next meeting invite, consider whether the same outcome can be reached via phone, email, or text. You may find that a group email can help answer questions as effectively as an online meeting. Even if time spent is similar, having fewer meetings on your calendar will ease fatigue.
With many departments hiring remote workers, the shift from conference rooms to online meeting platforms was bound to happen; COVID just accelerated it. The good news is that as companies continue to fine-tune their remote work strategy, meetings will become quicker, more efficient, and less frequent. Meeting fatigue is real, but as both management and employees adapt, it will quickly become a thing of the past.