Have you ever clicked out of a virtual meeting with a few coworkers and felt like you needed to drink a gallon of Red Bull to get through the rest of your day? Then you’ve probably experienced Zoom fatigue in some shape or form during the remote work shift.
The Best Ways to Help with Zoom Fatigue
Symptoms of Zoom fatigue include:
- A general feeling of exhaustion
- Letting your mind wander during meetings
- Overheating while on a video conference
- Experiencing headaches or migraines
- Feeling anxiety about virtual meetings
While the term references Zoom, the most popular video conferencing tool on the planet, it’s important to note that Zoom fatigue can stem from any form of live video communication.
What Causes Zoom Fatigue?
So why is Zoom fatigue a thing? Jeremy Bailenson, a Stanford researcher and one of the leading authorities on Zoom fatigue, gives us three reasons:
- Performance Anxiety: When you join a video call, you can see other attendees in small boxes on your screen. You can also see yourself. This leads many people to worry about their appearance, which gives them performance anxiety.
- Sedentary Days: You don’t have to walk to a conference room to participate in a virtual meeting. You simply pull up a new screen on your computer. This causes professionals to become more sedentary, which can harm their mental states.
- Impersonal Communication: Much of human communication is non-verbal. Video conferencing makes it harder for us to decipher visual cues and truly understand what we’re being told. This can result in cognitive overload and extra stress.
Add these things together: constant performance anxiety, sedentary days, and the less personal nature of Zoom meetings and it’s not hard to see why many of us are more tired.
How Do You Beat Zoom Fatigue?
Zoom fatigue is real and causes feelings of exhaustion, headaches, and other unsavory symptoms. So it definitely makes sense to ask, “how do you beat Zoom fatigue?”
Here are four tips to keep you keep going in the age of (seemingly) endless video conferences.
1. Turn Off Your Camera
One of the easiest ways to alleviate Zoom fatigue is to simply turn your camera off. I have a little slide cover. When I’m good, I slide on — when not — I slide it off.
Controlling your camera will help reduce performance anxiety during virtual meetings. It will also give you more mobility, allowing you to pace around your office or even go for a walk outside (assuming you have wireless headphones and can access the meeting via your phone.)
In most cases, you don’t need to have your camera on anyway. If you’re watching a presentation, the presenter doesn’t need to see you. When you’re joining a large group, most other attendees won’t care if they see you, especially if you’re not talking.
If, for whatever reason, you have to have your camera on, hide the self-view in your video conference software’s settings. Fixing your settings will, at the very least, reduce your levels of performance anxiety because you won’t be able to see yourself and worry if you look okay or not.
If you will add in a great photo of yourself –smiling — it is even better.
2. Adjust Your Schedule
Next up, adjust your schedule. If every day is full of back-to-back virtual meetings, you’re going to get burned out—especially if said meetings run late, which often happens. Instead, keep these three tips in mind when scheduling your video conferences:
- Don’t Schedule Back-to-Back Meetings: If at all possible, avoid back-to-backers. Breaks between meetings will give your mind and eyes a rest, allow you to get out of your chair and stretch your legs, and use the bathroom.
- Schedule All Meetings on the Same Day: While we can’t recommend back-to-back meetings, you may want to try scheduling all of your weekly meetings on the same day. That way you can experience freedom the rest of the week.
- Don’t Overextend Your Virtual Conferences: Lastly, if you’ve scheduled a 30-minute virtual meeting, don’t push it to 45-minutes unless you absolutely have to. Run through your agenda, then bid adieu to attendees and let them get on with their lives.
Virtual meetings are almost inevitable in the modern world. But by paying attention to your schedule, you can help avoid Zoom fatigue.
3. Use Other Communication Tools
Zoom is a great tool. So is Google Hangouts, Highfive, and many other video conferencing software. But they aren’t the only ways to communicate with employees, colleagues, and prospects. Give yourself a break and use something a different solution like:
- The Phone: Of course, you can always just pick up the phone and call your colleagues, employees, prospects, etc. to cut back on virtual meetings.
- Email: Short on time and need to convey a simple message? Shoot your recipient a short email rather than schedule another Zoom call.
- Slack: Messaging apps like Slack are great for staying in touch with colleagues, sharing information, and more. They also won’t burn you out like video meetings.
- CloudApp: Want the convenience of asynchronous communication and the clarity that video calls provide? Use CloudApp to create and send video messages, screen recordings, GIFs, and annotated screenshots with just a few clicks.
By finding the right balance between video calls, written communication, and asynchronous video messages, you’ll be able to overcome Zoom fatigue.
4. Eliminate Multitasking
Let’s be honest: multitasking is bad news. Science has proven that the human brain can’t focus 100% on more than one thing at a time—no matter how hard we try. Attempting to multitask just leads to lower productivity and brain health.
Multitasking is extra problematic when paired with video conferencing because effective virtual meetings require more brainpower than other tasks.
When you join a video conference, close out the other tabs on your screen, put your phone away, and log out of your email. Do whatever you can to eliminate distractions so that you can give the meeting your full attention.
Create a Better Work Environment
Here’s the deal: Zoom fatigue is real and it’s lowering your quality of life.
It’s not Zoom’s or any other video conferencing software’s fault. These companies have built amazing tools that allow us to connect with people face-to-face—even if we’re thousands of miles apart. The problem is we’ve become so reliant on them, they’ve started to burn us out.
Fortunately, now that you know what Zoom fatigue is and what causes it, you can implement the tips listed above to overcome it and create a better work environment for yourself
Top Image Credit: liza summer; pexel; thank you!
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!