Since mid-march most of us at the Federation have been working from home and have settled into a daily routine that allows us to be as productive as possible under such circumstances. As we work remotely, our in-person meetings have changed to phone calls, e-mails and video conference calls using an online platform like Zoom or Teams. Those of you on-farm may have adjusted to an online format as well in order to sell your wares, attend or provide training, and to participate in industry meetings.
For some of you, this may be a new way of working and it may seem that you are constantly sitting in the front of the computer or tablet attending one virtual meeting after the next. If this is the case you may be experiencing something called Zoom Fatigue. According to Fast Company and BBC, this is a condition when workers feel as though their energy has been completely drained, their eyes feel strained, and they are less productive.
Here are some hints and tips to alleviate Zoom Fatigue:
- To relieve eye strain, follow the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 min you look at the screen, look away at an object about 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
- Prevent visual overload by switching the screen from gallery mode to speaker mode.
- It is quite draining to feel as though you are being watched all the time and to be watching everyone else on the screen. During in-person meetings typically you are focused on one point or person in the room and not looking at every point or person in the room.
- You may feel pressure to be at the top of your game and presentable during zoom meetings as everyone is watching and this can cause anxiety. To reduce this anxiety simply turn the camera off or relax as you would in an in-person meeting.
- Take breaks. It seems as though the zoom meetings are being scheduled back to back to back. When we hold in-person meetings we typically leave time between meetings to get to the next meeting, freshen up, grab a coffee, or simply regroup. Allow this same amount of time between zoom meetings as well.
- Be mindful of your body position when working at your laptop, tablet, or home station. Avoid hunching or slouching which cause an increase in head, neck, shoulder, and back strain. Poor postures caused by hunching or slouching can cause an addition 60 pounds of pressure on the spine.
- If you are spending your days or prolonged periods in front of screens, stretch and take microbreaks from the seated work position just as you would if you were in the office.
It is important to maintain normal office habits and ergonomics even while working from home.