Zoom Fatigue is Real

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re spending way too much time on virtual meetings? Would you give up your favorite coffee mug for a chance to interact in person? Yeah, Zoom fatigue is real.

It turns out there’s real scientific evidence to back up our collective feelings.

Researchers from Austrian Institutions recently decided to investigate the effects of video conferencing on the human mind and body. Participants were strapped with EEG and EKG monitors while extensively using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other similar platforms.

The outcomes were shocking.

When comparing EEG brain signal frequency in online meetings and in-person interactions, there is a higher-level frequency associated with stress, focus, and concentration during online meetings compared to in-person. It’s not your imagination that those video calls are actually forcing you to concentrate more.

The study also found changes in heart rate variability, suggesting persistent symptoms of exhaustion during an online meeting.

It’s important to understand the context of this study before we swear off video-conferencing altogether. The study focuses on students on campus rather than corporate warriors in a cozy home office. Therefore, differences according to environment and age may exist.

The main takeaway from these results is that face-to-face communication versus online can significantly impact the human body. So even if you’re not a 24-year-old student living on campus, video conferencing fatigue can still impact you.

Protecting Your Business From Zoom Fatigue

What steps can businesses make to benefit from video conferencing without driving their employees virtually insane?

To lessen the need for video meetings, try utilizing collaboration tools like Teams, Slack, and even good ol’ email to allow your staff the freedom to respond when most convenient for them.

Arrange face-to-face meetings whenever it’s both feasible and safe to do so. Once in a while, a face-to-face interaction can be a refreshing break from the digital world.

Often the simplest answer is the most straightforward one. Ask your staff directly about their preferred methods of communication. While some are totally fine with video conferencing, others might be better off with a phone call or written updates.

Keep your video meetings brief and pleasant when you do schedule them. To prevent burnout, schedule breaks in between calls and avoid consecutive meetings.

The message is clear: hold off on getting rid of your webcam for now. Rather, take a step back, evaluate your communication strategies, and choose the ideal combination to maintain team enthusiasm and engagement.

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