No, you’re not alone… Zoom fatigue is totally real, and Stanford researchers have unveiled the four main causes behind video call burnout because yes. They can be incredibly exhausting.
Researchers have just published a study that delves into what causes ‘Zoom Fatigue’, aka physical and mental exhaustion caused by several video meetings or lectures.
The report, which was published in the journal Technology, Mind, and Behaviour, details four main causes for Zoom-induced burnout. The first has to do with the excessive amounts of eye contact we engage in during video calls.
Unlike real-life meetings and lectures, your screen continuously displays faces – all looking back at you – and this tends to trigger stress. Plus, some monitors tend to enlarge faces to uncomfortable proportions, and subconsciously, we interpret a close face as a sign of conflict.
Professor Jeremy Bailenson explains, ‘What’s happening, in effect, when you’re using Zoom for many, many hours is you’re in this hyper-aroused state’.
Research also shows there are negative emotional consequences tied to looking at yourself in a mirror, in this case watching yourself on-screen. Not to mention that sitting in the same spot for hours on end is also tiring.
Lastly, the struggle to communicate and interpret nonverbal cues can also cause cognitive overload. As a remedy, the report suggests reducing the size of your video call window and utilizing the ‘hide self-view’ option.
If you’d like to move around more, then having an external video camera farther away can help enable you to do so. More importantly, allowing yourself some ‘audio only’ breaks and taking a break from a screen can help you mentally reset!