How to Help Your Team Beat Online Fatigue

September 28, 2021
 By the end of 2021, 32% of workers will work remotely. Gartner forecasts 51% of global knowledge workers will be remote by the end of 2021.  


While the debate whether Work from Home is better rages on – the above figures are significant estimates. We look forward to permanent changes in the manner teams work.  

However, this paradigm shift comes with its own set of challenges. Managements must work towards a cohesive strategy that will enable and empower teams to perform optimally.  

Burnout is a real factor in a work from home environment if clear boundaries are not set.  

Employees need coaching and guidance to navigate productively. The time one saves on the commute cannot be converted to extra duties. Work-life balance and checking out to attend to oneself is important.  

What are the symptoms of online burnout?  


  • Visual fatigue  
  • Musculoskeletal pain in the neck, shoulders, arms, fingers, and the back 
  • Backaches are common due to wrong seating position for long hours 
  • Vitamin D deficiency owing to lack of being outdoor and getting sun exposure  
  • Vertigo 
  • Mood swings  
  • Anxiety  
  • Sleep disorders  


The symptoms can range from mild to severe. Should you detect any of the above syndromes – try to review your working pattern and the total time spent in front of the screen. You may want to discuss this with your health practitioner as well.  


Since COVID began; Americans are spending over 19 hours a day looking at some type of digital gadget during the lockdown. 


What are some of the key causes of online fatigue?  


  • Extended focus – focusing on the screen without regular breaks such as with webinars. 

  •  Reduced access to nonverbal cues – we communicate a lot through nonverbal expression, hand gestures for example. However, online video calls do not allow this and to compensate we end up focusing more on the screen.  

  • Prolonged eye contact - we aren’t used to prolonged eye contact, or overload of faces to process on the screen. Also seeing our own faces as we talk or listen, and the associated hyperawareness of how we appear or emote is stressful.


How can we make things better – some useful tips  


  • Choose your medium of communication carefully. Not everything needs a video call, it could be a voice call. Similarly, sometimes an email works best.  

  • A call should not always be about the whole team joining in. One to one communication is important and helps build emotional comfort.  

  • Define the agenda in advance before video meeting – this will help you keep your calls brief and to the point. 

  • If you are the manager, try to lead with a lighter tone and allow for more expressive meetings. Keep it lively and organic from time to time.  

  • As an individual, if you think you are not needed in the meeting – say so.  

  • Ending before time is okay provided the objective has been achieved.  



Work from home could be a great opportunity. The time and energy that save on commute could be used for some great personal project or simply more time with your loved ones.  


You could move away from the city and enjoy nature plus save on those monstrous rents. But, like everything you need to be conscious of your choices and actions. Be aware of things that could go wrong and be in control through learning and actively pursuing a balance.