The pandemic has made transition to remote work an obvious solution, but not everyone finds videoconferencing easy or rewarding. While working from home helps minimises your chances of Covid 19 exposure, it has created plenty of other new challenges and Zoom anxiety is one among them. Working from home can be enjoyable but more and more people seem to struggle with the proliferation of video calls that now have become necessary. For those who you’re counting the days until Zoom meetings fade into the past, here are five that may help you zoom through your next meeting.
What is the source of your anxiety
When compared to straightforward meetings or workplace chats, video calls can encounter any number of problems, such as tech issues, difficulty interpreting gestures or tone of voice, unexpected or back-to-back calls that interfere with your workflow, trouble communicating ideas or making yourself heard, a pet, child, or partner bursting into the room unannounced, etc. Some of us can feel uncertain over where to focus our eyes to maintain natural eye contact, or you may already have public speaking anxiety, or maybe you’re just really, really tired of Zoom.
A good first step is to know what triggers your anxiety. And when you feel the first twinges, sit with it and explore it instead of pushing it away.
Focus on what can go right
You have probably dealt with your brain’s negativity bias before knowingly or not. Negativity bias is the human tendency to recall what goes wrong far more clearly than what goes right. This same bias plays a part in Zoom anxiety too. That’s why, after video calls, you often catch yourself worrying about what went wrong instead of what went well. Catch your thoughts and Focus on the positive moments.
As you navigate working by video, don’t forget that even though you’re physically at home, you’re still at work. Dressing for a day of telecommuting just like you would for a regular workday helps your brain switch to “work” mode.
When your mind drifts such as when you hear a suspicious sound and start to worry whether your dog finally figured out how to pull the groceries off the counter, or who is at the door, or even if you begin to worry about how you are looking, return your focus to the present moment. Mindfulness can help ease this anxiety in two key ways. Staying focused on your Zoom call keeps your mind occupied and prevents your worries from taking over. And staying fully engaged in the meeting means you’ll know exactly what’s going on. When your attention starts to drift away from the video call, return your awareness to what’s happening on-screen.
Dress the part
As you navigate working by video, don’t forget that even though you’re physically at home, you’re still at work. Dressing for a day of telecommuting just like you would for a regular workday helps your brain switch to “work” mode. You’ll probably feel better prepared for work if you’re dressed for work. It can also help boost your confidence and make it easier to stay engaged in this new and somewhat unusual professional environment, besides avoiding the bloops that we often hear and see.
Express your concerns
When you find it challenging to manage Zoom anxiety, consider letting your boss know how you feel over email or a private message. Without useful feedback, managers and supervisors won’t know how to address these concerns. For example, if several people report difficulties getting a word in, your supervisor might choose to call on people in turn to make sure everyone has a chance to talk.