Currently confined to their homes and physically distanced from educators, many friends and relatives have become reliant on video chat apps like Zoom. However, in recent weeks I’ve heard one or two people saying that they are finding video chat apps tiring and mentally taxing. A kind of fatigue is setting in. This surprised me because these apps have been a shining light both prior to and especially during lockdown. However, Zoom fatigue is real for many and the topic was even featured in a National Geographic article.
The piece in National Geographic suggested that among all video chat users, a significant number were finding the Zoom app especially taxing. Andrew Franklin, a world-renowned expert on cyber-psychology, reminds us that research shows many people struggle with video chatting versus face to face. This is because the non-verbal cues of body language such as breathing, posture, micro-expressions, etc., are missing from a video chat. Instead, sustained and intense attention to words is required. The absence of these helpful body language cues is what can make video chats really draining. It’s even more taxing if the picture is of bad quality or there are multiple participants requiring lots of decoding.
Fortunately, there are some ways to alleviate zoom fatigue if you are becoming afflicted by it. Some more experts’ tips, shown on the BBC’s website were these:
• Limit your video calls in both frequency and duration
• You don’t to have the camera on at all or throughout the whole call.
• Having the screen at the side rather than head on can help concentration and make it easier to focus on words.
Their final suggestion, which I am in absolute agreement with, is that if you want to connect with a remote someone, you can also revert to ‘old-school’ tactics such as email, or even writing a letter!
You can read the article in National Geographic by following this link: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/science-and-technology/2020/04/zoom-fatigue-is-taxing-the-brain-heres-why-that-happens
I am a practising HR consultant working with several start-ups on an ongoing and ad-hoc basis in the London and M4 area, and am a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development or CIPD. I am the Director of thecareercafe.co.uk; thecareercafe.co.uk is a resource for start-ups and small business. It includes a blog containing career advice, small business advice articles, HR software reviews, and contains great resources such as HR Productivity Apps.