Does more Zoom mean more Zzzzzzz?

Submitted by Dawn on 23rd October 2020

HR, Zoom, online conferencing, employees, leadership

Could all our online conferencing be affecting our sleep patterns?

How much time are your employees spending on Zoom calls? For some companies, for very obvious reasons, the answer is ‘tons of time’. Many of us are grateful for the change in working patterns and for some, but definitely not all, home working is an attractive alternative to traditional office-based working. Making use of online conferencing saves many of us travelling time and expense. So – what’s not to like?

Wreaking havoc with sleep cycles 

Have you asked your employees how they feel about all the Zoom conferencing? It might be worth finding out. You could find that endless Zoom calls are making them feel exhausted and groggy.

It seems that devoting endless hours to staring at a tiny screen attending Zoom meetings could be wreaking havoc with our sleep cycles.

Experts tell us that Zoom fatigue is inevitable. But there are ways around it. Here are a few recommendations you could make to your people to help them to maintain healthy sleep patterns during these hectic, scary, and confusing times.

1.  Power naps

One simple, yet effective, solution is an afternoon power nap. With our lives in flux and the boundaries between domestic life and the office blurred like never before, an overwhelming feeling of tiredness can slow our concentration and productivity. Cara Moore, CEO and founder of ProNappers, suggests ditching caffeine and instead, powering down for a quick 40 winks.

“A power nap can help to alleviate anxiety because our cortisol and adrenaline levels are lowered on waking,” says Cara. “As well as feeling refreshed and revitalised afterwards, taking a nap also improves your focus and concentration, which many home workers struggle with.”

2. Take time out to do what we enjoy

Yet a decent night’s sleep has become a precious and rare commodity since the pandemic began. There’s evidence that increased stress and anxiety brought about by endless Zoom calls is causing cortisol levels in our bodies to spike.

Heightened cortisol levels make it harder for our bodies to produce melatonin, the chemical we need for sleep to occur. We reduce cortisol by producing serotonin, the happy hormone. We achieve this by doing things that make us happy. Examples might include exercise breaks – a 30-minute stroll or even an amble around the garden. Encourage your employees  to get out at least once a day to stretch and exercise in the fresh air and expose themselves to sunlight, even if it’s cloudy.

3. Regular sleeping hours

Consistency is the key. Get up and retire at roughly the same time every day.

4. Look after minds and bodies

Advise  employees to limit their intake of alcohol and caffeine, and try to eat as healthily as possible. Encourage them to reduce screen time in the evenings and avoid all screen use at least one hour before bedtime.

All these steps will help counter the debilitating effects of excessive online conferencing. Leadership is as much about support as it is about directing. By advising your people about how to combat tiredness brought on by Zoom conferencing you’ll be showing that you’re willing to understand what the pandemic is like for them. This, in itself, will help maintain morale and loyalty. 

Here at Gravitas HR, we have a good  understanding of employee psychology – what makes people tick and how best to provide the support they need.

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