How to Avoid Virtual Burnout

Burnout can sneak up on you—especially when you’re working from your own kitchen table or home office. That’s why virtual trainers need to be especially vigilant.

But when you’re experiencing the unique challenges that training in a remote or online setting create, practicing consistent self-care can be tricky. These tips can help you avoid burnout and become a better (and happier) trainer as a result.

Monitor Your Webcam Time

When you’re leading a virtual training session—especially one that is live and online—it’s really nice to see everyone’s faces. Humans tend to get a lot of information from facial cues. Seeing faces makes it easier to notice when participants are actively engaged or when trainers are genuinely enthusiastic.

But it can take a lot of energy for trainers to continuously make themselves available on camera. The trick is to use strategies to limit your webcam time without sacrificing the connectivity that can make live, online sessions feel interactive. Consider:

  • Incorporating more activities that are participant-focused, such as breakout sessions and small group chats. Mute your webcam during these sessions to give yourself a little bit of time to recharge.
  • Paying attention to your own energy levels. If you feel like you need a break from interacting on camera, remember that it’s okay to take that break! You don’t need an excuse to do so.
  • Keeping a close eye on how much time you’re spending on camera. Sometimes you might be so busy that you don’t notice an extra few minutes here or there. That extra time adds up, and often isn’t sustainable.
  • Turning off self-view. Just because others can see you, doesn’t mean you have to see yourself! (Just don’t forget that you’re on camera.)

Use Video in Your Training Sessions

Short snippets of video are a great way to change things up in a virtual training session. Participants can have a little bit of self-directed time while watching the video (and recharge their social batteries). And trainers can use the time a video is playing to get ready for the next activity.

Here are a few ways to use videos in your next session:

  • Create pre-recorded segments of yourself. This is especially handy if you are explaining something complex or covering Power-Point slides, for example.
  • Use videos to help emphasize material. Keep your video clips short—but there’s no reason you can’t link to a great scene in a movie or a short video example that illustrates your overall point.

Get Help (and Collaborate)

Training is collaborative at heart. It really takes a team effort to get everything to come together. That’s especially true of virtual training. But sometimes, assembling that team in an online setting can feel a little harder, especially if everyone is working from home.

Avoiding burnout can be as simple as remembering that you don’t have to do everything yourself.

  • If you’re putting on a webinar, for example, make sure you have a producer. Your producer can help you manage questions, technology, chat, and more.
  • Source materials and techniques from your colleagues! By the same token, share your own handouts and activities so you and your team can all succeed together.
  • Network with other trainers, so you can easily and productively bounce ideas off of each other.

Take Breaks

In some cases, the trick to avoiding burnout might be deceptively simple: take breaks. In terms of virtual training, this can mean two different things. First, make sure to schedule breaks during your training session. Take some time to stand up, stretch out, and enjoy your cup of coffee!

By the same token, it’s usually productive to take breaks away from virtual training. If possible, shake things up by hopping into a face-to-face session every once in a while. Or, hop into a different session or topic to stretch your training muscles into new territory.

At the very least, make sure you’re taking a few days to recovery your energy when you can.

Avoiding Burnout in a Sustainable Way

Avoiding burnout is absolutely essential to ensuring your training goes right and everyone gets what they can out of it. The better trained you are as a trainer, the more sustainably you’ll be able to avoid burnout.  

You can learn more about becoming a virtual trainer in our Interactive Virtual Trainer Workshop. Or you can discover how to save yourself some time and energy in the How to Quickly Convert Classroom Teaching to Live Online Crash Course.

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