Why Zoom Fatigue is a very real phenomenon…

We’re now eight months into a global pandemic and we’ve all turned to virtual technology to conduct countless meetings and catch up regularly with colleagues . And let’s be honest – that enthusiasm you had the first time you switched on your laptop for a virtual meeting has probably waned a little by now?

There have been lots of discussions (on and offline) about how tiring the past few months have been, even for those of us well used to back-to-back meetings throughout the day. So much so that the phenomenon has a name: Zoom Fatigue. Experienced by those using any of the video calling platforms, not just Zoom, experts have been delving into the reasons behind this widespread feeling.

They’ve concluded that when we’re in a face-to-face meeting, we’re able to automatically process the speaker’s non-verbal cues (such as tone, pitch and posture) while still being able to concentrate on what they’re actually saying. On a video call, our brains have to work much harder to do all of this – and of course we might miss out on some of those all important gestures.

So, our brains are already whirring trying to process what’s going on – and then there’s the added complication that we can see our own face on the screen. This isn’t something which would happen during a face-to-face and it makes us overly aware of what we’re doing, which leads to some of us feeling like we’re performing and needing to be ‘always on’!

Of course, that’s without even mentioning the technical glitches which can occur on video calls!

Luckily, there are various practices we can put into place to try and reduce Zoom Fatigue, including:

  • Making meetings really succinct and ensuring you stick to the agenda.
  • Deciding whether a video call is really necessary each time.
  • Changing your settings so you can’t see yourself on the call.
  • Getting up and having a stretch, a drink of water and some screen-free time in between calls.

Naturally, there are some great bonuses to video calls too: you can wear pyjama bottoms if you like, you only have to tidy the area of your house that’s in shot, no travelling time, and it’s so much lovelier seeing your colleagues and clients on screen and hearing their voices than just emailing all the time!

What’s your own experience been like over the past few months? Have you or your team suffered from ‘Zoom Fatigue’, and what have you put in place to reduce this? As always, we’d love to hear from you!

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