Zoom Fatigue Is Real: 11 Hacks To Get Over Zoom Fatigue.
Yes! Zoom fatigue is real. The study conducted and published by Stanford University suggests that zoom fatigue is affecting people.
The name “ZOOM FATIGUE” is a blanket term. This means zoom fatigue represents fatigue caused by videoconferencing by any platform, apps, and chatbox including the zoom app. As Zoom conference is highly popular that is zoom fatigue name is given. You can also call it video call fatigue.
Different people may have different opinions on this but this is really happening to people ranging from milder to severe form.
Though online videoconferencing is there for a long. But from the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, it has surged manifold. Because pandemic forced people to work from home in lockdown. Online videoconferencing is the best and convenient way one can get to connect while working from home over voice calls and chats.
Before the pandemic working from home was usual in some industries like IT. But it is totally new concept for several industries. There is a surge in users using online videoconferencing mediums. So, because people are doing it several hours in the day every day which leads to an increased incidence of zoom fatigue.
Excited? Continue reading…
Table of Contents
WHAT IS ZOOM FATIGUE?
The meaning of zoom fatigue is consequences that lead to bad mental and physical health and decreased productivity after long or several back-to-back videoconferencing sessions.
REASONS FOR ZOOM FATIGUE?
As such there are many causes responsible for zoom fatigue. Following are the most common causes as per researchers and based on observation,
1. PRESSURE TO PERFORM CAUSES ZOOM FATIGUE.
The person who is taking video conferencing has the unconscious pressure to perform in front of all the people present online. It is just like performing on the stage while all the eyes are on you and watching you.
In your mind, you feel like you have to perform and perform well in front of all your colleagues. This put an extra burden on our mind. If this feeling persists for a long time it leads to mental and physical exhaustion. A person may feel stressed, drained, and anxious.
2. INCREASED SCREEN TIME CAUSES ZOOM FATIGUE.
Though virtual conferencing apps were there and people used to use them. But as people were working from the office it was not very popular back then.
Since the pandemic started and people were forced to work from home videoconferencing has become the most important thing to work and stay employed.
This leads to increased screen time drastically than previous days. Increased screen time leads to zoom fatigue. A person may experience saturation of head, exhaustion, tiredness, and burning eyes.
3. INVADING INTIMATE SPACE.
While attending the online seminar or online videoconference we hold our device much near to our face. As per an expert under 21 inches from our face is our intimate area if someone invades into it i.e. comes closer than 21 inches we get uncomfortable.
In regular life there are only two situations others invade it, first is in lovemaking like to kiss and other when someone is fighting with us and yelling furiously standing face to face. Both of these situations make us intense and over-conscious.
The same is true for online videoconferences. We keep our device (Laptop, mobile phone) nearer to our eyes i.e. in intimate space it keeps us uncomfortable subconsciously because of our emotional instinct. It feels like other people are Just in your intimate space, this leads to zoom fatigue.
4. WATCHING SELF IMAGE.
As per phycologist watching, self-image in selfie camera or on-screen of our videoconferencing device is uncomfortable and tiring. This leads to zoom fatigue.
Women are more prone because of this reason.
5. MAINTAINING HIGH CONCENTRATION FOR HOURS.
We call it good interaction only when it involves both verbal and non-verbal communication at the same time. If one is missing, our brain has to work extra to capture the communication and understand it properly.
In office meetings, everyone remains present face to face which makes it easy to talk to people directly and observe body language, limb movements, read facial expressions. Hence, true communication happens.
But in the online videoconference, it is very difficult to pick nonverbal languages by our brain which leads to the wrong interpretation of interpersonal communication.
To overcome this, we have to stay extremely focused, concentrated, and patient for hours so that there should not be any loss of communication. This puts an extra cognitive load on our thinking brain. This situation is tiring and drains our energy in some time.
6. DISTRESS DUE TO BAD CONNECTION.
Many a time there is a problem with the connection or technical errors that happen which lead to missed communication. This creates uncomfortable situations not understanding properly what the other person is telling, or your reply reaches late due to a technical error it creates a negative image of you.
As per research if your reply reaches at least 1.5 or more it is enough for other people to judge you as unprofessional and rude. No matter how focused you are bad connections lead to communication loss and you are unable to transmit or receive proper information.
Getting late replies from other people with whom you are conversing online can be frustrating and make a person impatient and angry. Which leads to zoom fatigue.
7. CASUAL APPROACH.
Since distant working started from coronavirus pandemic almost all are working from home. They don’t need to go to the office regularly like before.
Inside the office, everyone has to be well-dressed, and all the employees need to follow good working etiquettes such as signing in on time, being well-groomed, sit on the table and chair for work, eat on time and leave on time.
But while working from home people take these working etiquettes casually. They just long in on time while sitting on the bed or on a couch wearing normal home worn clothes.
This casual approach leads to body and mind dissonance. Now you must be wondering what body and mind dissonance means? This simply means incoordination between your body and mind.
For example, though you are attending office meetings online and you are trying to focus on work, but your mind is not ready to concentrate because it doesn’t approve that you are working.
This dissonance is because of your casual approach to your work. Your mind thinks that either you are not ready for work or you are not serious about work. You can’t lie with your mind.
Your body and brain are trying to work but your subconscious mind thinks something is not right. This leads to saturation of head, decreased creativity and productivity.
When we work in an office our body and mind work in harmony which makes us productive and helps to create a feel-good environment.
8. ANTISOCIAL LIFE.
Humans are social animals. We are programmed to stay, work and eat in groups. Socializing is our evolutionary instinct. Work from home forcing us to live antisocial life.
Though virtually we are connected with each other but via online mediums but practically and emotionally we are miles apart. Unconsciously we miss the physical touch (Handshaking, Hugs, etc.), talking face to face, hanging out with colleagues, chit-chatting with colleagues on random things at lunchtime.
This antisocial life of working from home makes us lonely, sad and drained which is responsible for zoom fatigue.
If your workplace was toxic and you are happy as you don’t have to go to the office because of work from home thing, I must warn you. Work from home can bring the toxic work culture to home through videoconferencing and other online platforms.
For example, a boss and management may spy on you or micromanage you with different online tools and apps, and your colleagues can still bully you or judge you online.
Because of this, you will feel burnout, stress, and anxiety. It will also affect your relationship with your spouse and children. The effect of toxic work culture on you will reflect your mood at home.
This creates a stressful situation at home and leads to zoom fatigue.
10. LACK OF PRIVACY.
While in office days there used to be separate chambers for most of the people. Many a time there was meeting one-to-one or with selected people. But on virtual videoconference, everyone is online at the same time. What is happening good or bad everyone is watching us.
Lack of privacy on online platforms is uncomfortable and awkward. We may feel embarrassed if the boss scolds us or some mistake happens by us as it is happening in front of everyone. This can lead to zoom fatigue.
ZOOM FATIGUE DEMOGRAFICS.
A study from Stanford University suggests that women are highly vulnerable to zoom fatigue. At least one out of seven women accepted that they usually feel fatigued due to the regular use of virtual videoconferencing platforms. While it is less common in men i.e. one in ten men. The reason is women get excessively stressed and anxious seeing self-image for several hours.
Studies further suggest that the incidence of zoom fatigue is slightly higher in people of color than white people. Surprisingly younger individuals are more affected than older people.
People who are emotionally labile or has low emotional intelligence are more prone to get fatigued easily could be due to the inability to tolerate stress and low emotional control. While emotionally stable people are less affected.
Also, people with a preform anxiety disorder will have a higher incidence of zoom fatigue.
INTROVERTS AND ZOOM FATIGUE?
Though introverts are happy with the concept of work from home (WFH) as they can enjoy their solitude. But research from Stanford University shows that introverts are slightly at higher risk to suffer from zoom fatigue than extroverted people.
The reason could be due to the fear of pressure to perform in from of so many eyes staring at you and may judge you.
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EFFECTS OF ZOOM FATIGUE ON HEALTH?
Zoom fatigue can affect us if it continued for several days and months. Signs and symptoms of zoom fatigues are broadly categorized into three parts,
1. PHYSICAL HEALTH
Zoom fatigue can have mild to severe physical health symptoms such as headache, the fullness of the head, burning eyes, pain in the neck and back, shoulder pain, weight gain, sleeping disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome.
2. MENTAL HEALTH
It can also have adverse effects on mental health such as loss of motivation, negativity, nervousness, mental exhaustion, hopelessness, sadness, anxiety, and depression.
Sometimes irritation, a person may get angry with a tiny stimulus, feel stressed, and burnout. Few people may experience eating disorders.
3. PROFESSIONAL HEALTH.
A person may experience a lack of motivation to work further today or for several days. May experience decreased productivity, creativity, and enthusiasm. This will affect your reputation and promotions.
HACKS TO GET OVER ZOOM FATIGUE.
1. SELF CARE.
I give utmost importance to self-care. If you want to be enthusiastic and focused on work you must be healthy. To stay fit and healthy you need to take good care of yourself.
Self-care such as eat a healthy diet, a lot of inactivity going on at home you need to lift some weight every day so exercise daily, prepare for task in extra time, though you are at home still keep yourself well maintained and groomed, have enough sleep and Keep negative thought away.
You will feel good about yourself. You will stay happy, enthusiastic, and fresh for the whole day.
2. ATTEND FEWER MEETINGS.
If possible, try to attend fewer sessions in a day. There are some sessions where all the people need not attend or it is optional to attend. In this case, you can avoid attending.
This will cut short your screen time and you will get some time to relax in between. In the next session, you will be at ease and energetic.
Or If you have attended the videoconference for long hours like 6-8 hours in a day and now you feel drained and tired. You can ask your boss to excuse yourself for one or more sessions and you can re-join after you feel better.
3. INMEETING BREAK.
If the online session is lengthy it is important to take a short break in between. Breaks can be a quick refresher. In break you can have your tea coffee, can have lunch, or take a power nap.
Or you can chit-chat with people online on random things like you used to talk in lunch break while in office. Talk about anything other than work.
In-meeting breaks are really helpful to alleviate the tiredness and keep you far from zoom fatigues.
Also, you can take a day off from work if you are suffering from zoom fatigue recently because of continuous conferencing. Use this time to hang out with your family and friends. Or take a short trip to a place you love to visit along with your pals.
The only thing you need to keep in mind is don’t bring in your work on off days. Just stay clear of it.
Once you feel better, start with full energy and enthusiasm on next day.
5. FUNNY PRESENTATION.
If you are talking today or it’s your day of presentation. Try creative ways to present like make your presentation a little funnier or try to crack jocks in between so that people listening to you will not get bored.
This will help people to relieve stress and anxiety related to videoconferencing. If people like your way of presentation, they will love to hear you again and again.
6. GET READY LIKE YOU ARE GOING TO THE OFFICE.
Your casual approach to videoconferencing sessions during work from home can be the cause of zoom fatigue. Prepare like you are going to the office.
For example, wake up early, groom yourself, wear decent clothes or official clothes if any, always use table and chair for conference and never do it from bed or couch. Reserve a separate room for official work, complete all your chores before starting the session and check to charge of your device and internet connection beforehand.
Family members appearing in the background and doing random things can be embarrassing. Ask them not to come into the room during official hours.
This preparation will give a signal to your mind that you are seriously doing office work which will minimize the body mind dissonance.
7. WORK HOURS AND FAMILY TIME.
Though you are working from home don’t involve family members in it. Keep your family time and official working time separate.
This will help to keep happy go lucky environment at home. Which helps you to stay positive.
Be strict with work hours such as avoiding calls at nonofficial times, completing your assignment during office time, etc. Because tension in the family can reflect on your work.
8. USE OTHER MEANS OF COMMUNICATION WHEN POSSIBLE.
If possible you can other means of communication like phone calls and text chat for communication, especially during one-to-one communication. You need not video call every time. This can further minimize your screen time which reduces your cognitive load and zoom fatigue.
9. SWITCH OFF THE CAMERA AND MICROPHONE.
There is an option to off your camera in every online videoconferencing platform, you can use it sometime.
If you are tired of watching self image or you are anxious about watching self image, just turn off your camera for a while whenever you can. Like in some instances you don’t have to show your face on screen but you need to listen and be online. In this case, you can turn off your camera until it is your turn to talk.
Introverts feel awkward as all the people are watching you on screen or some people are camera shy and feel awkward on camera. In this case, switching your camera off will help to alleviate your anxiety.
10. DON’T LET THE CAMERA INVADE YOUR INTIMATE SPACE.
Keep your laptop or phone a little bit farther from your head. i.e. more than 21 inches away from your head. so that your intimate space remains uninvaded and you don’t feel tense.
Use the table to put your device or use a stand to set your camera so that other people can see your all upper torso, your shoulders, your face, and your hand moment. This will help them to read non-verbal communication and will also help you to feel comfortable.
If you are tired of sitting on a chair, you can use a heightened table so that you can attend the seminar by standing in front of the camera while the device is on the table.
11. GO TO THERAPIST.
If all the zoom fatigue tips not solving your problem. You can always go to a therapist or counselor.
Zoom Fatigue is defined as the feeling of tiredness, heaviness of the head, anxiety, burnout, and negative mood that comes after using online communication platforms. Especially video conferencing platforms for several hours a day.
A study conducted by Stanford University proves that zoom fatigue is real and it is affecting people.
Following are the most common reason responsible for zoom fatigue,
1. Pressure to perform.
2. Increased screen time.
3. Invading intimate space.
4. Watching self-image.
5. Maintaining high concentration.
6. Distrace due to bad connection.
7. Casual approach.
8. Antisocial Life.
9. Toxic work culture.
10. Lack of privacy.
You can try the following hacks to get over zoom fatigue,
2. Attend fewer meetings.
3. Inmeeting break.
5. Funny presentation.
6. Get ready like you are going to the office.
7. Work hours and family time.
8. Use other means of communications
9. Switch off the camera and microphone.
10. Don’t let the camera invade your intimate space.
11. Go to a therapist.