The Economist pointed me in the direction of a new study out of Stanford and Gothenburg Universities that looked at Zoom fatigue by gender. There’s a lot to unpack in the study, after the big takeaway that women experience more Zoom fatigue than men. One of the points I found most interesting was this set of data.
Why do women have longer meetings? Is this gender stereotypes at play, with women less likely to pull the “power move” and cut short a meeting that has outlived its usefulness? Is it politeness, being unlikely to drop off a meeting out of fear of being seen as rude? Do women have an innate tendency to schedule longer meetings? While the authors didn’t delve into these questions, I think this data is a call to arms for all women, and men too!, to be cognizant of the effect of meetings as a drain on your energy. Drawing boundaries around your day and your energy is key to having a successful work from home schedule.
Stick to your agenda and don’t be afraid to end the meeting when the agenda items have been met
Mark your calendar to make it easy for people to schedule meetings in times that work for your energy
Audit your team’s meetings quarterly, to make sure all meetings are necessary, have the right attendees, and are the right length
If possible, have your team set the default meeting length as 25 and 50 minutes (or shorter!) as opposed to 30 and 60 minutes to allow for breathing room between minutes
Remember that everyone is feeling this fatigue and thus any chance you can personally take to shorten meetings is a blessing and act of courtesy to your colleagues.
Lastly- Brevity is the soul of wit! Most messages can be tightened up and conveyed using less words. Challenge yourself to be economical with your word choices in order to increase impact.