Zoom fatigue syndrome is the new “disease” that started mostly beginning with the COVID pandemic and is caused by video conferencing fatigue. Since the pandemic began, a new lifestyle has begun for everyone. More time spent in front of computers and less time for social interaction. In fact, the main way to socialize both for work and with friends is through technology.
Surely in the last two years, you have been facing a lack of energy and even maybe chose to skip some Zoom meetings for this reason. This feeling has been called “Zoom Fatigue” syndrome and most of us experienced it before.
The phenomenon has become so widespread due to the increasing number of video chats for business meetings, birthdays, and even first dates.
Experts have confirmed that spending too much time on video chat actually tires people out. They indicated four main reasons, along with a number of practical solutions.
1. Zoom meetings with family and friends may cause excessive close eye contact
In the right context or better said with the right person, eye contact can increase intimacy and communication. Because it is an intimate act, however, too much eye contact can be intense and somewhat stressful, especially being in front of the screens which also is stressful for your eyes. Not only do video conferencing require us to make eye contact with someone for long periods of time, but the video format generally increases the size and proximity of the speaker’s face. The stress accumulated by this type of behavior may lead in time to “Zoom fatigue” syndrome. Imagine if you were in person – would you be so close to each other?
What to do: Go face to face with someone you live with and measure the distance you feel comfortable talking to him or her. The next time you attend a Zoom meeting, make sure your laptop or monitor is comfortable or farther away.
2. Through video conferencing you see yourself constantly, in real-time
Apart from dancers, most people are not used to working in front of a mirror all day, until video conferencing has become commonplace. Research shows that people are more likely to evaluate themselves when they see a mirror image. Given the previous work, a constant “mirror” on Zoom meetings is likely to cause self-assessment and negative effects.
What to do: In order to decrease the Zoom fatigue syndrome, if turning off the camera is not an option, use the “hide auto view” feature on Zoom.
3. Zoom fatigue syndrome also causes less mobility and movement
During face-to-face meetings, people move. These opportunities for movement are limited, if not completely unavailable, through video conferencing. To stay visible and focused on screens, most people are confined to a small physical space until the meeting is over.
What you need to do: Create a larger field of view (called more space to move around) during Zoom meetings or video conferencing by pushing the device further back.
4. Nonverbal cues are harder to interpret or take more energy which may cause “Zoom fatigue” syndrome
Nonverbal cues are an essential aspect of communication and are necessary also during Zoom meetings, and research shows that they are easier to interpret in person than in the video. In addition, people who give nonverbal cues need to be more aware and exaggerated in order to convey their message, which can be tiring. Even the way we vocalize in videos requires effort. One study found that people talk 15% louder in video conferencing than in person.
What to do: When you can try to communicate only via audio format, especially on days when you have multiple long meetings.
In conclusion, Technology allows us to stay connected, and more than that in the midst of a pandemic is a critical and innovative tool necessary to our day-to-day life. However, as with any technology, there are some consequences with overuse. If you think you’re experiencing Zoom fatigue, then know that you’re not alone. Keeping these simple solutions in mind can ease some of the burdens.
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