|Video chats are helping people to stay connected and employed. But why is it so tiring – and how can we reduce ‘Zoom fatigue’?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, people depend on video calls more than ever before. However, many people find it exhausted facing a dozen heads staring at them with loads of meetings and works.
To that, Gianpiero Petriglieri, an associate professor at Insead, and Marissa Shuffler, an associate professor at Clemson University has their opinions on it.
Why ‘Zoom fatigue? What varies between a video call and face-to-face communication?
We have to work harder to process non-verbal cues such as tone and pitch of voice, facial expression and body language. Hence, it drains out a lot of energy paying attention to these as it requires more attention than face-to-face communication. Petriglieri said “The discordance where our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not is causing exhaustion,”
It also makes people uncomfortable when no one talks in the video call. Petriglieri mentioned that silence generates a natural rhythm in real-life conversations. However, people will become anxious if it occurs in a video call.
Another significant factor is that we are extremely aware of being watched when we are physically on camera. Shuffler points out that we know people will look at us when we are on a video call. It is difficult for people not to wary of how they look and behave if they can see themselves on the screen.
What is affected by the current consequences?
The circumstances cannot contribute all to Zoom fatigue. Whereas current circumstances such as quarantine, work from home or lockdown also contribute to it.
Petriglieri believes that video call reminds us of the people we have lost temporarily. People are experiencing the same disruption of the familiar context during the pandemic. It is very tiring for people no matter they are introverts or extroverts.
Apart from that, some people who put higher expectations on themselves due to worries over the economy have lack of downtime may also contribute to tiredness.
Alternatives to reduce Zoom fatigue
Both experts suggest eliminating unnecessary video calls. There should be more understanding of turning off the cameras to better focus on each video call. Nonetheless, turning on the camera and the microphone should also be optional.
When it comes to work, Shuffler suggests that sharing files with clear notes is better to avoid information overload. She also believes that taking time during virtual meetings to catch up and building transition periods between meetings can reduce tiredness.
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