It’s not just you, it’s Zoom. New research shows that Zoom and other video conference solutions are designed to fatigue human minds and potentially cause burnout. If you are sick of the endless rounds of video-conferencing meetings at work, this blog’s for you.
New Research Proves that Zoom Is Exhausting You
Stanford University has been paying attention to all that time you spend in online meetings, and they have this to say, “Those video calls are likely tiring you out.” Hundreds of millions of these screen-to-screen chats are happening every day. But Stanford may be the first institution to delve into the psychology effects of these platforms on our psyches and our energy levels.
The study was released in the Technology, Mind and Behavior journal. In it, researchers were careful to note they weren’t vilifying Zoom per se, only using it as an example of a medium that seems to be having a negative effect on human culture and the U.S. workforce. Researchers state, “Videoconferencing is a good thing for remote communication, but just think about the medium—just because you can use video doesn’t mean you have to.”
Why should employers worry about Zoom fatigue? Because it may have an impact on the burnout our employees are experiencing, which, by all accounts seems to be high:
- 86% of remote employees say they experience burnout symptoms.
- 51% say they don’t have support from work to deal with their symptoms.
- 41% of remote workers say they experience stress “most of the time.”
How is Zoom contributing to this? Why does video conferencing seem to exhaust us? The Stanford study suggests:
- Too much close-up eye contact across a screen with multiple people is stressful and tiring.
- Looking at yourself all day in a video conference is a lot. In fact, it’s too much, according to researchers. There are studies that show when you look at your reflection, you are more critical of yourself.
- Video chat reduces our mobility and limits our productivity. Since cameras have a field of view, they limit your ability to walk, pace, and think things out.
- You have to work harder in a video chat to communicate nonverbals. If you’re agreeing with someone you have to exaggerate your head motion or give a thumbs up. You also have to be aware of what glancing off the camera could mean to your viewers.
How Can You Avoid Zoom Fatigue?
Even though video conferencing has been around for decades, we are still learning the best practices for using these tools regularly. Some of the changes you can make immediately, according to researchers includes:
- Taking Zoom out of full-screen and using an external keyboard to put some distance between you and your coworkers.
- Using the “hide self-view” option so you’re not staring at yourself all day. In Zoom you right-click your thumbnail to select this option.
- Try adding a stand-up desk, an external keyboard, and a wireless headset so you can move around a little bit more during your meetings. Maybe even turn off your camera once in a while and stretch.
- If you’re in a long meeting, turn off your camera and go audio only. Then literally turn away from the camera to give yourself a break.
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