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What Is Virtual Fatigue?

Virtual Fatigue comes from always being online and losing the boundaries between work life and home life. How can it be countered?

Are you always on Zoom or Skype or Whatsapp or Google meetings for work these days? It can be tiring and can lead to a type of burn out called virtual fatigue.

There is a growing trend of virtual fatigue among people who have lost the traditional boundary between work life and home life due to the lockdown. For many who, traditionally, worked in an office environment, this can be difficult to manage. When you work from a device at home and that device is always around (like a laptop or tablet) then it means work is always around. You can soon find yourself working till late at night, even while in bed.

‘You may start to feel washed out, burnt out or find you are suffering virtual fatigue’

This can place strain on your relationships at home as you focus might be on a device instead of the people around you. Alternatively, you may focus too much on those around you to the detriment of the work you are meant to do. This makes employers worried that they are not getting the needed productivity out of remote workers. All this is stressful as you try to strike a good balance. You may start to feel washed out, burnt out or find you are suffering virtual fatigue.

How To Offset Virtual Fatigue

Ironically since most businesses who have been forced to go remote or virtual, only have virtual options to try to deal with the issue. One way is to set strict work times. Another option is to use monitoring software to ensure that workers are being productive enough…without becoming big brother and making your staff feel stifled (realistic expectation are vital here). You want to find the balance between allowing your staff to take small breaks but at the same time avoid them abusing the process and being unproductive. You may remember the story of one Cape Town politician who was spending about 9 hours day on pornographic sites during the work day…this you would like to avoid obviously.

Fight Fire With Fire

Many teams have found that starting the workday with a 10 – 20 minute briefing is an effective way of checking everyone is at the “office” and getting everyone on the same page for the day.

‘look for ways to boost team morale, which in turn will boost sales and performance.’

Some firms have also found that by instituting a 30 minute “fun” zoom with some games or team building they can boost morale at the right times. Holding the fun event consistently will help those who find it awkward at first to start to get used to the idea (we all fear change). With a little online research, you can find games and fun activities that you can hold. Some participants can be given assignments by your team’s HR person to do something silly, musical or dramatic. Different team members can be given something to do together. Think Tik Tok dances or something else current.

Rather than allow the virtual “office” to become a dull and dreary place of labour and discontent it is wise to start to look for ways to boost team morale, which in turn will boost sales and performance.