4 Reasons Video Meetings Can Cause “Zoom Fatigue”
As video meetings become more and more common, more people are starting to experience what’s been colloquially called “Zoom fatigue.” Zoom fatigue can become a mental health problem, especially because it can make people feel extremely burnt out and exhausted after video calls. What actually causes Zoom fatigue, and how can you avoid it? Consider these four common reasons for Zoom fatigue, as well as some tips to avoid it.
1. Constant Eye Contact Can Contribute to Anxiety and Discomfort
Because of how video conferencing tools work, you’re probably experiencing more eye contact in Zoom calls than you usually would during a meeting. That can be disconcerting, even if you don’t realize it. Resizing video conferencing tools so the windows are a bit smaller, or using an external keyboard to put some space between you and the computer, can help.
2. Seeing Yourself in Video Calls Can Be Tiring
In a normal work day, you probably see yourself for a few minutes in the bathroom and you might get a fleeting glimpse of yourself when you pass by a glass wall. Zoom meetings, however, tend to show you for hours at a time, which can actually be surprisingly stressful, even if you don’t have a problem with your appearance. Look to see whether your video conferencing software has an option to hide your front-facing camera.
3. Video Chats Reduce Normal Mobility
When you have a phone conference, you likely pace around as you talk; if you’re in a physical conference room, chances are you’re going to be taking notes in a notebook or switching sitting positions regularly. However, with a video conference, there’s often an added restriction to mobility, making you feel like you can’t move around almost at all. You may want to consider talking to your boss about taking breaks regularly during video conferencing meetings or using a mobile phone to call in so you can walk around a bit.
4. Nonverbal Communication Is Harder to Telegraph and Understand
Face-to-face communication lends itself well to nonverbal communication; you’re paying attention to subtle changes in body movement and tone. However, it’s much more difficult to do that over video chat. If you’re trying to express nonverbal cues in video chat, you have to make them much more pronounced, and if you’re trying to infer nonverbal cues, you have to put in significant extra effort. Audio-only conference calls can help reduce this frustration, as can a process of having only one person – the person who’s actually presenting – on video at a time.
Video conferencing can definitely lead to increased fatigue issues overall. Though it may seem on paper like six hours of video conferences is essentially equivalent to six hours of face-to-face board room meetings, video conferences can certainly be more difficult to manage than those face-to-face meetings. Whether you’re in charge of the meetings or not, consider some of these tips to reduce Zoom fatigue overall and make sure you’re at the top of your game for your next conference.