As technology becomes more sophisticated and accessible, more processes are moving online. Training, working, and learning online have all become the ‘new normal.’ Many organizations shifted their training from face-to-face to online because of its cost-effectiveness and convenience.
For some companies, this shift happened during the past 12 months during the worldwide COVID-19 lockdown. People found themselves working in their homes, isolated from coworkers and trying to be productive under new circumstances and surroundings.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams are now the new “can’t live without” apps used by organizations to replace in-person online training courses and meetings. Although they have many benefits (like improved connectivity), they also bring about unique challenges that must be overcome.
Working online from the comfort of home might sound less tiring than a day in the office, but many are finding the opposite to be true. Being camera-ready in front of a computer all day with a microphone and web-cam is a whole new level of exhausting. This is what we call Zoom fatigue.
But what exactly is Zoom fatigue, and why are some online training courses tiring?
Zoom fatigue or burnout is the taxing feeling you get after attending too many video calls. This happens because the overuse of electronic devices and technology, and the need to always “be on and ready” is draining. Although people have different symptoms of Zoom fatigue, it often means your brain needs to work harder to understand and connect with people during video calls.
Here are five reasons why online interactions and training courses can be tiring:
1. A lack of non-verbal cues can cause fatigue.
When we talk directly to someone, our brain processes nonverbal cues, such as body language, facial expressions, and voice tone. When talking through a screen, you aren’t able to pick up these cues.
2. Constantly being on camera.
Being hyper-aware of how we look or act on camera can cause us to focus on ourselves and lose focus from the speaker.
3. Multiple people in the same meeting.
All the different faces and backgrounds can become overwhelming for the brain to process, which causes mental fatigue.
4. Distractions at home.
You may have pets, spouses, roommates, or children in your home environment. And the anxiety around anticipating crying children, barking dogs, doorbells and other potential interruptions while on camera can be nerve-wracking and mentally draining.
5. Technical difficulties can cause irritation and stress.
There is often frustration with lagging connections, background noises, and people turning their microphones on and off during online meetings.
We now know what Zoom- or online training fatigue is, but what is the impact of online training fatigue with a growing workforce population working from home?
Many would agree that working from home has its benefits. Greater flexibility, avoiding long commutes, catching up on laundry, and the ability to avoid office politics. However, a crucial downside of working from home is the lack of new stimuli, which can cause people to drift into a fatigue cycle.
Many employees struggle to keep their workloads within a set number of working hours. This creates a blurred line between work life and home life. Many employees have shared that the commute to and from work in the car or train gives them the ability to mentally prepare and decompress from the day’s stresses. Plus, it provides a clear start and stop to the work day. Home workers also tend to work through illness, and parents bear the responsibility of maintaining their children’s education at home due to schools being locked down.
Apart from this, working from home (WFH) can impact the overall company culture. Engaging in team-building activities, sharing a laugh, and other daily interactions can help the day seem shorter, improve morale and increase productivity. Working from home makes employee interaction challenging to maintain, leading to workers feeling isolated. This can lead to reduced morale and increased employee turnover.
So, how do we combat online training fatigue?
Here are seven tips to combat online training fatigue:
1.Make sure your online training program is effective and engaging.
An effective and engaging training program is vital if you want to ensure your company’s success. Think about your current training program and consider the new generation of tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z in the workforce. Does your online training program need new content, or a more engaging interface?
After properly assessing the program, determine if only minor changes are needed, or whether it is time to re-launch your training program. The Kirkpatrick Model consists of four criteria for evaluating training and educational programs and is probably the best-known model for analyzing.
The four levels of criteria the Kirkpatrick learning evaluation model consists of are:
– Evaluate the learners’ reactions to the training.
– Make sure the students absorb the training material.
– Assess if and how behavior has changed as a result of the training.
– Evaluate the impact of the training program on your business results.
2. Consider incorporating gamification, rewards, and fun into your online training.
Gamification means using gaming techniques to provide engaging learning and training experiences. Energizers, games, and ice-breakers are great ways to break the monotony and bring some fun into the classroom. It will also improve learning and increase focus. Gamification and an effective rewards policy will inspire employees when their motivation isn’t strong and motivate them to finish the course faster.
3. Allow employees to stretch and take breaks during training sessions.
Allow regular breaks during training and encourage the learners to stretch or walk around. This will reduce fatigue, improve posture, and prevent muscle strain injuries. Frequent intervals will also keep your students alert and motivated.
4. Switch up the format between videos and quizzes.
No more death by PowerPoint. Consider using quizzes to complement video content. This can be done by integrating quizzes inside the video, ensuring more active learning and better retention of the content.
5. Spread training throughout the year instead of all at once.
Create a culture of training and professional development. Spreading required courses throughout the year so it is manageable reduces the pressure, and it ensures that they stay up to date with their everyday work. Ask yourself, are we treating training like it is a punishment, or are we making learning a core part of our company culture?
6. Balance synchronous and asynchronous activities.
A great way to keep your students engaged is to blend synchronous activities – (requires attendance at scheduled meetings and lectures) – and asynchronous activities – (allows students to ask questions, access materials, and practice their skills at any time they choose).
7. Consider using Coggno’s Training Hub.
We offer a wide range of online training courses specifically designed to reduce cognitive strain. Our Training Hub tool makes deploying and managing online training simple and affordable. Launching an online training program with engaging, relevant courses will reduce Zoom fatigue, ensuring that your employees stay motivated and productive.
Although the upside of working from home is improved flexibility, the downside is having to deal with Zoom fatigue and virtual meeting exhaustion. Companies and training institutions can combat this by implementing measures that ensure their staff stays engaged and motivated by revamping their online training program. This will lead to a happy workforce and an improved company culture.
If you are thinking about creating an online training program for your team that is simple to manage and affordable to maintain, check out Coggno’s Training Hub tool. Take the first step and request your free, quick, no-obligation demo.