‘Zoom Fatigue’ Is Setting In!
Psychologists say constant video chat meetings are powerfully draining users more than in-person conversations.
Risk of Burnout
For employees working from home, Marissa Shuffler, a U.S. Professor who specializes in the psychology of work, said, “longer-term risks include burnout and depression if normal workplace habits and tools are not properly adapted.”
Judy Lee, a content writer in Mississauga, Ontario, started feeling sluggish lately in a way she hadn’t before: “I was feeling really exhausted, but I didn’t know why,” she said.
Working from home in Ottawa, entrepreneur Stefan Kollenberg was experiencing feeling “emotionally drained.”
They were experiencing a type of mental exertion that’s become known as ‘Zoom Fatigue’, named after the popular video chat software.
This condition is all too common in the COVID-19 era, with so many people working from home and holding meetings through video conferencing applications such as Skype, Google Meet, etc.
What Causes It?
Psychologists say several factors lead to ‘Zoom Fatigue’.
Users can feel like they’re performing for the camera more than they would while meeting colleagues in person – especially when software continuously displays to a user their own live image, adding a powerful element of self-awareness.
Marissa Shuffler, an assistant professor in industrial-organizational psychology at South Carolina’s Clemson University, calls it “having to be ‘on’ all the time.”
What Can You Do About It?
Here is some great advice from Janine Hubbard, a St. John’s-based psychologist: she recommends presenters offer other users the option to turn off their camera – or ask if it’s ok for the presenter to speak in audio-only mode.
Just not having to think, “What do I look like right now” can feel like a weight has been lifted off.
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