The Fight Against Zoom Fatigue
By Guest Author Kaelyn Schulz
In our “New Normal,” remote and hybrid work from home is here to stay, which means we will continue to use technology to connect with clients and colleagues in our post-pandemic world. As we embrace an online workspace, we also have a new co-worker, Videoconferencing Fatigue, a.k.a Zoom Fatigue.
What is Zoom Fatigue?
While Zoom has dominated the videoconferencing market, any video chat platform can have the same draining results on users. Zoom Fatigue is characterized by the feeling of tiredness and burnout caused by being on camera for prolonged periods. It can zap the bubbliest extrovert and is especially draining for introverted personalities.
You may assume a controlled, at-home video call would be an introvert’s dream, but excessive eye contact, close-up images, self-screen view, and reduced mobility take a toll. Extroverts do not have it much better. Video conferencing reduces the amount of water-cooler conversation many extroverts use to bond; screens only capture faces cropping out social non-verbal cues like hands, sitting style, gestures, and silence, or being muted is now interpreted as disinterest versus a natural pause to a conversation. As it turns out, no personality type is protected from the consequences of video-chat overload.
Fortunately, there are common Zoom Fatigue causes and remedies you can implement.
- Hide self-view. Right-click on your photo to select the “hide self-view” button. Seeing yourself during a meeting can make you feel self-conscious. When we see images of ourselves, we tend to get overly critical. Watching yourself speak, react, sit still, etc. is anxiety-provoking and makes you feel like a solo presenter instead of a contributor to a conversation.
- Minimize the Zoom screen to one-third the size of your monitor. Take Zoom out of full-screen and reduce the Zoom window. Even better, move the video screen to an external monitor to give more space between you and the screen. Direct eye contact is draining, and too much of it is unnatural. Additionally, when images are overly large, they mimic the sensation that someone is in your personal space.
- Move Around. Set your camera at a distance and create a work-appropriate background space to move in. You automatically work to stay in the frame when the camera is on. Sometimes we have a limited area of the room behind us we want seen. All of this can mean tense muscles and a frozen position for hours. If you can, set your camera at a distance or use an external camera so you can move around and stand up.
- Turn the camera off and go audio-only. Have a professional headshot saved as your non-video participate screen. Sometimes you need a break from being seen. Going unseen does not mean being unheard; consider other ways to add to the conversation like using the chat box, emojis, and “+1” affirmations.
- Limit the number of meetings Ask yourself, “Can this conversation be an email, phone call, or text chat?”. Video conferencing is an excellent remote work tool, but it does not need to be used every meeting. Additionally, we should feel free to set boundaries on the calendar with “No Meeting” blocks to dedicate to email and work and take a break from meetings, video or not.
If you are curious where you fall on the spectrum of Zoom Fatigue, complete this Stanford 15-item questionnaire and see how your experience measures against 500+ participants collected over the past year.
What does Zoom Fatigue feel like for you? How do you recover?
Any advice on additional ways to reduce Zoom Fatigue you can share?
As an introvert/ extrovert, what benefits does Zoom bring to you?
Granneman, J. (2020, April 30). Why zoom calls are so draining for introverts. IntrovertDear.com. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://introvertdear.com/news/why-zoom-calls-are-draining-for-introverts/
Kenn, B. (2022, April 27). An introvert’s musings on Zoom Fatigue. Zoom Blog. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://blog.zoom.us/introverts-musings-on-zoom-fatigue/
Ramachandran,V. (2021, March 1). Four causes for ‘zoom fatigue’ and their solutions. Stanford News. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://news.stanford.edu/2021/02/23/four-causes-zoom-fatigue-solutions/
Shi, D. (2021, March 3). How to make your virtual meetings more fair to introverts. Fast Company. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://www.fastcompany.com/90608039/how-to-make-your-virtual-meetings-more-fair-to-introverts