It’s been a year since most of us started working from home, and in that time a new ailment has emerged: Zoom fatigue. The term “Zoom calls” has become common vernacular as we’ve used video conferencing platforms for work, connecting with friends, catching up with family over the holidays, and even school conferences with teachers, and “Zoom fatigue” has become a part of our lives as well. A recently published Stanford University paper highlights four primary reasons why we’re becoming increasingly weary in our video interactions. Let’s take a look at those reasons as well as some solutions.
Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact can be intense
Solution: Exit full-screen mode or reduce the size of the window to minimize the face size of meeting participants.
Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing
Solution: Use the “hide self-view” option to avoid being distracted by your own face and focus on what is being said by other people. In a day of virtual meeting after virtual meeting, looking at your own face can be exhausting. Additionally, if working with multiple monitors, you can rearrange platforms to move cameras to additional screens.
Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility
Solution: Use an external keyboard and/or camera to get some distance from the video conference. If possible, put the camera further back if you are someone who needs to take notes or doodle during a meeting. You can also move your laptop back and place on a riser or stack of books so that your hands are not visible on screen.
The cognitive load is much higher in video chats
Solution: During long meetings, occasionally turn off your camera and give yourself an audio-only break. If you don’t like drinking or eating while on video, turn your camera off, grab a drink, take a deep breath, and then turn it back on when you are ready. Also, if you know your kids are going to come flying into the background, turn your camera off. Your camera does not need to be on for 100% of every meeting.
Not every video conference session calls for 20 people on camera staring directly at the screen. It is okay for meetings to just be conference calls or to have camera-free meetings. For many years, companies operated successfully using just telephone conference calls. It is nice to see your coworkers or clients on video but be mindful that many folks are struggling with the balance of home, school and work all within the same four walls. Knowing they don’t have to be camera-ready all the time can help relieve anxiety.
As a meeting leader, feel free to give teammates a break and have a camera-free meeting from time to time. If you are the organizer, you can always ask yourself if everyone really needs to be on video. Additionally, consider alternatives to meetings for important communications. Utilize chat functions such as Microsoft Teams or Slack instead of meetings. If the work can get done collaborating through these types of channels, they are a good way to reduce the number of meetings on your calendar.
If you are planning your next virtual meeting, let’s connect on how AVAIL can help you create a seamless experience. Contact us here.