Researchers at Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab found that people who work and learn remotely often experience ‘Zoom Fatigue’. The study author Jeremy Bailenson gives reasons for the fatigue and how to resolve the issue.
Reasons for Zoom fatigue
One reason for weariness is the constant eye contact on zoom video meetings. During in-person meetings, people do not usually make as much eye contact. Excessive eye contact can cause social anxiety and stress as everyone’s eyes seem to be focused on you. Bailenson suggests that users should avoid using the full-screen mode to reduce the amount of eye contact.
With zoom meetings, there is usually a small square where the user can view their face. Bailenson states that it can be tiring to see your face on the screen for an extended period. To remedy this, the user should hide self-view and only use it when they think it is necessary.
Video chats are generally seen to reduce our mobility. Most people will not move during such meetings. According to the study author, people display better cognitive performance while moving. A solution is to use a wireless keyboard and frequently turning your camera off and on.
The final reason for zoom fatigue is the high cognitive load during video chats. In-person communication tends to be easier as non-verbal cues feel more natural and are easier to interpret. However, the cognitive part of the brain works harder to translate these cues during a video chat. This problem is worsened by the fact that non-verbal cues could have different meanings on video chat.
Bailenson adds that to make non-verbal cues clear, people must make sure they are framed within the centre and use exaggerated features to signal agreement. This adds a higher cognitive load to the user. He suggested taking short breaks from video chats so that you get time away from non-verbal cues that disturb your perception.
Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale (ZTF)
Five different studies have been conducted to test the Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale (ZTF). The test examines emotional fatigue, general fatigue, motivational fatigue, social fatigue and physical fatigue.