It has been over 200 days since the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Many of us have been working from home since the spring which means about half a year of this new normal. Google searches for “Zoom fatigue” peaked in the last week of April, but it is not a condition that is going away without a drastic change in the situation. So how do you combat six months of fatigue when video calls are still very much a necessity of the work-from-home environment?
Screenshot of a Zoom meeting screenGreen Fin Studio has facilitated several virtual workshops, conferences, and webinars over the last month alone. To help our clients- and all participants- break through the veil of Zoom fatigue, we get creative. Fun polls that pop up during and after Zoom meetings to create a memorable impression? Sure. Introductions that give everyone an opportunity to speak and answer fun questions. We’ve got you covered. Meetings where 60+ people have the chance to participate in an intelligent discussion about environmental monitoring programs, rather than being lectured at onscreen for an hour? You bet. Hosting a social cocktail hour as part of an international conference. Yes, absolutely!

As an example, we were happy to jump on the opportunity to design an online cocktail hour social for the October 2020 Recirculating Aquaculture Salmon Network’s (RAS-N) workshop with the University of Maryland’s Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology. Combining science, a social event to connect researchers in several countries, and Zoom provides a terrific chance to think outside the box. 
Recipe card for a cocktailWe recruited the inimitable Eva DeVirgilis to emcee the RAS-N conference social hour. Eva is an actor, writer, speaking coach, and woman of oh-so-many skills, including being a former NYC bartender. She created a custom salmon-hued cocktail recipe and then led dozens of attendees through making it from their homes. (Want to DIY? See the recipe card to the left!) With cocktails and mocktails (it was still a workday for many!) in hand, Eva then led a series of interactive games that included an artistic challenge of sculpting a salmon from foil, paper, or whatever people had handy. Instead of being fatiguing, the result was an energized crowd ready for more virtual interactions.
“I was very concerned about a lack of personal interactions and productive discussions. Green Fin [Studio] coordinated an amazing Social Hour that broke the ice and provided a great kickoff to our 2-day event,” said Yoni Zohar, professor at the University of Maryland and lead PI for the RAS-N project. 
Other best practices for Zoom calls may seem obvious, but we remind our clients to keep it short and sweet (perhaps make that full-day meeting two half-day meetings) and encourage participation in small groups by using breakout rooms. As one client said, break out rooms add in “the same ‘personal touch’ that is the hallmark of in-person conferences and workshops”. We are there to help you plan and market before your virtual event, facilitate on the day of, and provide recordings and final reports afterwards. Visit our virtual events page to learn more.
We would be happy to discuss how we could help your event rise above Zoom fatigue whether there are cocktails involved or more subtle, creative ways to better engage your attendees!