Zoom fatigue is real.
According to researchers at the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab, all that time you’re spending on Zoom or video calls is wearing you out at a much quicker rate than traditional face-to-face meetings.
1. Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact
Unlike in traditional face-to-face meetings, on video calls everyone is looking at everyone all of the time, and typically at a closer eye-to-eye distance, given how close people tend to sit to their screens. This presents us with a much more intense cognitive experience.
2. Seeing yourself on camera is fatiguing
Imagine someone was following you around all day with a mirror. That’s essentially what it’s like on video calls — we tend to spend too much time focusing on our appearance instead of the speaker, and for the more self-conscious among us, it can become incredibly taxing mentally.
3. Video calls dramatically reduce our usual mobility
Whereas phone calls allow us to ‘walk n talk’, most video calls demand that we sit still, in one location, and plan our day around our video calls.
4. Cognitive load is higher in video calls
The typical non-verbal cues we pick up on in traditional face-to-face communication are not as obvious when it comes to video calls. Our brains need to work overtime to both send and receive non-verbal signals.
Solutions to Zoom Fatigue
Fortunately, there are several quick fixes to the abovementioned challenges.
- Get out of full-screen mode and sit further back from your screen.
- Hide self-view.
- Use audio-only calls instead where sufficient (WhatsApp or good old fashioned phone calls might suffice here)
- Turn away from the screen from time to time during video calls.
- Don’t have a meeting if you don’t really need to — more on why most Zoom calls are a waste of time here.
When it comes to remote work, most organisations are still at level 2 in the 5 levels of remote work.
Many are simply recreating the traditional office online, along with all of its shortcomings — back-to-back meetings and email overload.
Learning when to use video calls and when not to use video calls will go a long way to getting them further up the pyramid, because let’s face it, life’s too short to spend entire days in back-to-back Zoom calls, and most meetings don’t need to happen.
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