Zoom Fatigue: Here’s Why It Happens and Some Tips on How to Avoid It
- What is Zoom Fatigue?
- Why Zoom Fatigue Happens
- How to Combat Zoom Fatigue
The pandemic has forced everyone into isolation. Companies are encouraged to adopt the work-from-home setting, where their employees won’t have to leave the house and catch the virus.
For the most part, this is one of the few positives we have experienced from this global health crisis. People have the extra hour to sleep, plus there’s almost no fuzz in getting ready for work each day. But perhaps the best part is that people can enjoy time at home with their families.
Nevertheless, working remotely also has some adverse effects. One of them is dubbed as “Zoom fatigue.”
What is Zoom Fatigue?
Zoom fatigue is essentially the mental exhaustion that is associated with online video conferencing or online meetings.
The phrase came from Zoom, a now-popular software that people use for remote work or remote learning. With its features, more people could join a single video call and converse in real-time. Since it’s now become the go-to video conferencing software of companies, it was added to the name.
Zoom fatigue could happen to anyone--even to people who did not participate or contribute to the meeting. And it’s actually pretty normal, too.
But why do people experience Zoom fatigue? Is there any way to avoid it?
Why Zoom Fatigue Happens
Researchers have found Zoom fatigue quite interesting and somehow new, so it’s only a matter of time until they begin studies surrounding it to know why it happens.
Several factors contribute to the mental exhaustion we feel whenever we join online video meetings. Here are what experts believe causes mental fatigue with online video call sessions.
Anxiety over technical issues
For one, there are technical issues, such as when your computer freezes or your internet connection is not stable enough. This could be annoying for everyone as they’ll have to repeat what they said for those who weren’t able to hear them.
For those on the other end with the technical difficulties, there’s an increase in anxiety, thinking that you’re making the meeting terrible for everyone.
Silence in video calls is also taxing. You become anxious that there’s something wrong with your connection or the hardware you’re using. Past studies were saying that delays, even as short as 1.2 seconds, is enough to make people think the person they’re talking to is rude or less friendly.
Before your anxiety worsens, you need to address these issues like finding a more reliable internet service provider.
The length of the call
There’s also the length of the call.
As with face-to-face meetings, we tend to grow more mentally exhausted the longer the meeting is. That’s practically the same with online video conferences--but this time with the addition of more factors.
Audio and sounds we hear
There are already theories suggesting that the type of sound we hear during one of these Zoom video meetings could determine how fatigued we would be.
For example, our voice changes because of the microphone. Most of the time, it can be crude to the ears, making us subconsciously irritated. Add to that the background noises that are amplified, such as tapping or squeaking.
Difficulty with non-verbal communication
Some experts suggest that a lot is going on in a single online video meeting that could make the brain work double-time and give us anxiety. For example, participants will have to work harder to pick up non-verbal cues, such as the pitch and tone of the voice, facial expressions, and body language.
In face-to-face meetings, we can make emotional judgments based on the non-verbal cues we catch, but we practically can’t do that well online.
You basically could not relax that well in an online meeting compared to a personal one.
The feeling of pressure
There’s also the feeling of pressure.
We are physically on camera, and that makes us think we’re in the spotlight. Our colleagues could see what we’re doing, how we look, and the state of our home. We are pressured to look good and feel that we should participate.
Plus, there’s the dread of thinking what if someone barges in, like your kids, and makes you look bad to your colleagues.
How to Combat Zoom Fatigue
Fortunately, there are a lot of things we can do that can help reduce Zoom fatigue.
Avoid frequent multi-tasking.
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, focusing on a single task at hand will make you more productive. Multi-tasking seems like an excellent work skill, but it could be mentally draining.
The next time you’re in a Zoom meeting, close all the tabs that distract you and put your phone away. The best thing to do is to focus and stay present, giving your brain more chances to take a break and relax.
Check everything before a meeting.
To avoid technical issues, make sure your Zoom is working well, the internet connection is stable, and your hardware is all working correctly.
You can also do the call in a private area of your home and lock the door to avoid people from barging in on your call and making you feel anxious. You can also clear your background if that helps you.
Make sure your area is nice and quiet. Or you can invest in some noise-cancelling headphones if you have extra money.
If the Zoom meeting is taking longer than usual, it’s nice to get some mini-breaks. Even removing your eyes away from the meeting or minimising it for a couple of minutes will do wonders.
It is possible to listen without looking at the screen--and your colleagues will understand quite better than you give them credit for.
For one hour meetings, make it okay for people to turn off their cameras every now and then to allow everyone to take a breather and rest.
Find a better internet connection.
Nothing is worse than suffering from intermittent internet connection. Just like other video conferencing applications, Zoom uses a huge amount of internet data. When you do not meet the requirements, expect a terrible experience during group meetings. It’s not only frustrating and embarrassing, but also affects your quality of work that depends on clear communication. Therefore, it is highly recommended to find a better internet service provider to ease your mind and improve your productivity.
If you are not satisfied with your current internet plan, there are other alternatives and options out there. One trick that helps is comparing different NBN and Home Broadband plans available in your area. For this, you can use Compare Broadband’s tool for free.
The pandemic has changed the way we communicate, and with it comes new things we have to get used to. Zoom fatigue is very real, and it’s happening to millions of people who are currently stuck at home. But if there’s a good thing, it’s that we can eventually learn how to get around new obstacles and sooner learn how to live with these new experiences and problems.
Does your Zoom application get stuck whenever you’re in the middle of a meeting or presentation? Maybe it’s time to find an unlimited NBN plan. We recommend getting an NBN50 or NBN100 so you can stream all you want all day long.
Call Compare Broadband at 1300 106 571 and get the best plan that suits your budget and requirements.
Don’t wait. Let’s combat Zoom fatigue and internet connection issues together!