Zoom fatigue: rebuilding employee wellbeing

zoom fatigue

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have slowly re-adjusted to a new way of working. No longer travelling in to the office, we've created a space to work at home, and found new ways to interact online. In many ways, our new way of working has its pros. The commute is certainly shorter, and it's become so much easier to meet with people virtually. However, the long-term psychological effects of vastly reduced face-to-face contact may be damaging. It has become easier for work to encroach on our home lives, and Zoom fatigue has become commonplace. Just this month, HSBC and Citibank have announced company-wide Zoom-free Fridays, to help combat the burnout that many employees feel enduring back-to-back video conferences. Now is the time for companies to help their employees rebuild their health and wellbeing. To help, we revisit an article that Dr Behrooz Behbod wrote for us last year with updates for the current climate. In it, he shares his expertise on how to manage stress and get back on track.

I read about Stoicism, which teaches the idea of focusing on the actions and experiences within our control, perhaps ignoring the big picture issues that are out of our reach. I cannot help but feel a certain unease with this philosophy though. Imagine if every innovator, researcher, explorer, or entrepreneur in history simply ‘gave up’ on solving the problems that otherwise felt out of their control? What would the world be like today?

Avoiding Zoom Fatigue

Perhaps a better approach to avoiding overwhelm, stress, and burnout may be to focus and be clear on what matters. What moves the needle? If we all spent a little more time reflecting and thinking, rather than running through back-to-back meetings, ideas may present themselves. Avoiding Zoom fatigue by taking breaks during the day to get fresh air and a little exercise. Haven’t you often felt that the best ideas seem to come out of nowhere, when you are in the shower, going for a walk, or simply being in a ‘flow state’?

I have seen patients, friends, and colleagues struggle with their mental health, some attempting and sadly dying from suicide. That is one end of the spectrum, yet most of us struggle with our mental wellbeing daily. The isolation, stress, and uncertainty during the pandemic may make things feel worse.

As I read more, I learned about Stoic optimism, seeing the opportunity in every disaster, getting equipped with the needed knowledge and skills, but more importantly, taking action. When faced with a problem, rather than dwell and get stressed, what if we pivot and refocus on finding the solution(s). This is critical as emerge from COVID-19. Perhaps we could teach children some of these skills as part of the school or extra-curricular activities?

Everyone loves a good come-back story, and the world needs one right about now. Whether we want to improve our health, build our business or career, or improve our relationships, it all comes down to mindset. Yet mindset is not simply determined by how we decide to think; there is so much more!

Four simple strategies to feel and perform better

In my search, what I found were four simple strategies that will make us feel and perform better today, all while preventing disease in later life. I like to think of it as a blueprint for building optimal health and wellbeing:

  • Lay a strong foundation through a constructive mindset;
  • Design the right architecture through diet and nutrition;
  • Install and tune-up our engineering through physical activity and brain games;
  • Upgrade our ventilation system by identifying and removing the hazards in our homes, workplaces, and cities, while replacing them with health-promoting environments. These would be like spending more time in nature, such as parks or by the sea.

Having personally gone through my own struggles with my physical and mental health, that's why I decided to expand on this blueprint by going live on YouTube every day for 90 days!

I truly feel that we are facing a mental health crisis. 1 in 4 people, aged between 18 and 24, reported they had considered suicide in the past month. That is according to a CDC survey of over 5000 people in June 2020, highlighting the detrimental impact of COVID-19. They also found that 41% reported adverse mental health or behavioural health condition related to COVID-19.

This is very similar to the UK, where 1 in 5 adults were affected during the pandemic. That is double from the 1 in 10 before the pandemic. Depression, for example, has particularly affected adults who were young, female, unable to afford an unexpected expense or disabled.

Know that feeling you get deep inside when you experience a health challenge; that urge to want to use everything in your power to help others in the same boat?

That's what inspired me to go to school and become a doctor over 20 years ago. That's also the same emotion I felt when my son was born prematurely, and then again when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

You may have felt the same way at some point in your life. I love Entrepreneurs who take action and make positive change that improves the health and happiness of the world around them.
Entrepreneurs are the source of positive change, solving problems, creating jobs, and contributing to the economy.

You and I are likely after the same thing, better health & wellbeing, tackling the complex problems we face, such as COVID-19, cancer, chronic diseases, and climate change. We’re always on the look out for creative ways of addressing these issues, and for me, that needs innovation, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship across ALL sectors.

The majority of our health, perhaps 90%, is actually determined by factors outside the healthcare sector. This includes the homes and cities we live in, our transport systems, the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, our education, occupation, social network, and so much more. Sectors contributing to health include business, marketing, law, architecture, engineering, urban planning, education, journalism, telecommunications, and science.

That's where YOU come in, the Entrepreneur from a non-health background. Just think, you have the power to potentially influence 90% of health!

As The Entrepreneur's Doctor, I'm here to help you create a healthier, happier world through your ventures. But it all starts at home, with your own health and wellbeing.

Disclaimer: The content is provided for information and education only and is not intended as a substitute for medical, psychological, or other professional advice. The content is not necessarily representative of any organisations or institutions affiliated with Dr Behrooz Behbod.

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About the Author

Charlotte Billington, Career Transition Coach and Co-Founder of Transition Peak
Dr Behrooz BehbodHarvard and Oxford trained-public health physician
Dr. Behrooz Behbod is a Harvard and Oxford-trained public health physician, with international experience in the UK, USA, and Europe. As The Entrepreneur’s Doctor (https://www.entrepreneurs.doctor), he helps Entrepreneurs create a healthier, happier world.