There’s an uncomfortable intimacy of maintaining sustained eye contact with just one person for a long period of time. Or trying to concentrate on five different people in five different rooms all at once. These are just two of the scenarios that may be causing you something being referred to as Zoom Fatigue.
People are not just using Zoom for work during the day, but hosting happy hours, shared dinners and extracurricular classes, such as art and crafts sessions, on the platform. In a word, people are tired of Zoom. And research backs this exhaustion with real science.
Don’t know what you got till it’s gone
“During an in-person conversation, the brain focuses partly on the words being spoken, but it also derives additional meaning from dozens of non-verbal cues,” says Julia Sklar, a writer with National Geographic who interviewed researchers about the perplexing world of online meetings in the age of COVID-19.
For instance, we may miss the quick inhale of the person about to interrupt us. Shoulders-up only communication robs people of body language and hand gestures. We don’t really know we pay attention to these cues until they’re gone.
So. what to do if you’re still working remotely? Here are a few tips for combating the dreaded Zoom Fatigue:
The “Brady Bunch” effect
Gallery View, which some researchers jokingly refer to as the “Brady Bunch” viewing option, shows all the participants of the call simultaneously in little boxes across the top of the screen. Usually only two people are conversing at any one time while using this feature, while the rest of the attendees watch and listen. This can be an overwhelming amount of stimuli all at once. Don’t use the Gallery View often.
Mirror, mirror on the wall…
Excessive self-awareness is just a nice way of saying: you’re looking at yourself too much. Why do we do this? In World Economic Forum, psychologist Dr. Linda Kaye from the UK’s Edge Hill University, says we naturally want to present a good image to friends and colleagues. But we are distracted by tiny imperfections and expressions we weren’t aware that we were making. You may want to try hiding yourself from view for short periods during a long meeting.
“This flight is oversold…”
We need to prove to ourselves we are as busy, or busier, than we were in the office. Or we simply have more time and are trying to fill every moment. Over-booking ourselves is a fault we can easily control. Even worse is that we try to multitask while on Zoom calls, according to the Harvard Business Journal. Answering an email or posting on someone’s wall while we are supposed to be paying attention in a meeting never allows us to be fully engaged with either interaction.
Deliver us from Zoom
A respite from Zoom meetings may be in order. Especially if we don’t know the people well, defaulting to Zoom may be a mistake. And if we are honest, some things can be done over email or an old-fashioned phone call. Try to mix things up and you may be finding yourself less exhausted and more engaged during meetings that require you to be on the platform.