By Hirra Azmat –
The evolution of Work-from-home through Zoom has been one of the banes that have emerged from COVID-19 as offices and workplaces have shifted to working remotely.
But after more than a year of on-screen meetings, presentations, and asking if everyone can see and hear us, a new stressor began to emerge from the shadows: Zoom fatigue.
Zoom fatigue (aka virtual fatigue) is when the constant use of video conference calls and meetings lead to burnout. This can make it hard to concentrate on tasks and can bring on feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression.
The latest research also provides evidence that videoconferences can be mentally exhausting, especially when participants don’t feel some sense of group belonging. The findings, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, indicates that so-called “Zoom fatigue” — which came into prominence in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — is a real occurrence.
In the study, which included 55 employees in various fields, participants received nine hourly surveys every day for five consecutive working days in 2020. The participants completed a total of 1,746 surveys in total. Over 92% of participants in this study recognized feeling fatigued and tired after a videoconference while only about 7% of the participants didn’t report any signs of videoconference fatigue.
That said, the symptoms of video conference fatigue are similar to those of more general burnout or exhaustion: It includes feeling tense or tired after a Zoom meeting; Difficulty focusing; Increased feelings of frustration with co-workers; Difficulty maintaining relationships; Physical symptoms, like muscle tension, fatigue, and insomnia.
While we may not be able to avoid video conference meetings forever, there are steps you can take to reduce stress and fatigue.
Turn off your camera
While this may not be possible for every video conference meeting, you should take advantage of it whenever possible.
Make the window smaller
Video conference platforms bring our faces much closer together than would happen in real life, and this can be very fatiguing for our brains. By making the Zoom window smaller, you are increasing the distance between you and the other person, which allows the brain to relax.
Know what works best for you
Do you prefer having all of your video conference meetings back-to-back in a shorter period of time? Or do you prefer breaks in between, even if it means being in meetings throughout the entire day? When you know what is best for you, you can schedule your meetings to better accommodate them.
Don’t forget about phone calls and emails
Just because we can do everything over video doesn’t mean we should. Phone calls and emails are a great way to give yourself a break from video conferences, while still interacting with others.
(Author covers health at The Kashmir Monitor. Feedback at [email protected])