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From Zoom Fatigue to “In-Person Fatigue”?

· sales leadership

The world turned, and we all went home. You don’t need me to tell you how those first few months looked - but they looked a lot like this…

We were (and still are) spending a lot of time looking at a green light.

  • We didn’t know where to look.
  • We didn’t know when it was our turn.
  • We couldn’t read the room.
  • We could see ourselves as we were talking.
  • The internet would hiccup - there would be delays - we’d be talking over each other.
  • "Is that a real background, or you using a green screen?"
  • We were highly conscious of and embarrassed by our dogs barking, cat walking across the laptop, or children yelling.

“Zoom Fatigue” was here - and it was real.

I use the word “was” on purpose. There’s not much talk of Zoom Fatigue anymore.

Why?

If I asked you to do 50 pushups right now, could you do it? Some might say yes, but the others - it would be too fatiguing. You might be able to get to 50, but everything would hurt.

For the individuals who would have no problem banging out 50 pushups, it’s probably because they do them every day. And for those who can’t, if required to do pushups on and off every single day for months, it would quickly become no problem, too.

Just like pushup fatigue, we had "Zoom Fatigue" before exercising those areas of our brains that were not wired to make the adjustments. What seems physically or mentally taxing fades over time. Doing Zoom calls daily for 18 months? No more talk of Zoom Fatigue...

But here’s the funny thing I recently realized:

“In-person” fatigue is next...

For most of us, we haven’t had many in-person meetings in the past 18 months. And when we get back to them, the first few in-person meetings will be fatiguing.

A client exclaimed after I explained this revelation to him, “Holy crap, you’re right! I went to my first all-day off-site since last February. By 3pm I couldn’t hold my head up!” - that’s “In-Person Fatigue”.

A vendor of mine had this reaction when I explained it to her, “My boyfriend just broke up with me. After having a Zoom relationship for 12 months, we started spending all of our time together, and he told me it was exhausting.” - I think it’s “in-Person Fatigue”, but could be something else. 😄

In-person meetings require effort. Imagine running a couple of miles every day, then stopping for 18 months. You don't just pick up where you left off - your first few runs again are going to be pretty fatiguing. You'll be sore. You'll have to convince yourself to keep going.

You used to do in-person meetings every single day, then you stopped for 18 months. Your first few in-person meetings are going to feel awkward, require more mental energy, and in the end, be fatiguing. Over time, they'll become the easy path once again - if you let them.

We were forced into video calls. In-person fatigue is one of the many reasons why pre-Covid working environments may never return. Like exercising for the first time, after just a couple in-person meetings, your brain may tell you, "meh, too fatiguing. I'm staying home."

Are you still getting Zoom fatigued?

For those who have gone back to face-to-face meetings, are you feeling it? For those who haven't gone back, can you see it happening?

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