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Zoom Fatigue is Real: 6 Signs You're Suffering from It
Quest WorkspacesApr 4, 2024 12:13:20 PM3 min read

Zoom Fatigue is Real: 6 Signs You're Suffering from It

Work can be exhausting and that's nothing new. But over the course of the past several years, scientists have been researching the effects of working from home and working remotely. They've already uncovered some objectively beneficial changes from the traditional 9-5 office space—such as flexibility, being able to customize work settings, and the freedom to move around and break up long periods of sitting in one location. But the transition away from cubicles hasn't been a smooth one, and one of the most pervasive challenges has been video calls. 



Video calls are devoid of human connection and don't provide the same degree of relationship-building in -client or coworker contexts. But there's another issue at hand: Zoom fatigue.


What Is Zoom Fatigue?

Zoom meetings, at least on paper, seem less exhausting than other types of meetings. You don't have to drive to locations or be in the office all day for an unannounced call. You can shorten the communication complications of emails and get the heart of the topic at hand. Video, seemingly, should be easier than in-person meetings.

But studies into Zoom fatigue say otherwise. Here's why, according to Stanford:

1. Think about the eye contact: Eye contact is draining, even as it's a key part of communication. But video calls bring the need to make continuous eye contact as an indication of paying attention. Not only are you making eye contact with everyone, but everyone is also making eye contact with you, and that takes a toll on people. Scientists also worry that full-frontal eye contact from faces that seem so close (because our screens are just a foot away) keeps us anxious and on alert all meeting long.

2. We can’t move that much: Calls and emails allow people to respond on the go. You can even shift and walk around in in-person meetings without coming across as rude. But with video calls, if you're not stationary and focused, that indicates a lack of attention. A changing background seems rude and may even be penalized by micromanagement metrics.

3. You must emphasize non-verbal cues—i.e., you're acting: We all know the science by now: non-verbal communication matters more than the words themselves. But we must overextend and overdramatize those cues on a video call because hand gestures and body language don't translate as well. This means we're constantly acting unnaturally—and gauging all the faces staring back at us to make sure we're doing it right.

4. It's a constant mirror, and that's exhausting: Staring continuously into a mirror is bad for our mindsets. It makes us more critical of ourselves, and it's distracting. Unfortunately, setting up a picture or a dark screen isn't usually an option.

So, that's what Zoom fatigue is—but how do you know if you're suffering from it?


Symptoms of Zoom Fatigue

Develop a practice of checking in with your mental state throughout the day, not just at the end of a stressful week. By noting when you feel negative emotions and physical effects, you can track down the cues. After all, things like poor customer interactions and stressful events in your personal life can drag down your workday. When it's Zoom and other video tools that are the culprit, you may experience these symptoms:


When a Call Is Upcoming

Zoom fatigue can set in before a scheduled videoconference call with symptoms like:

  • Inability to focus on current tasks
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Additional stress


After a Call

Many professionals continue to experience negative emotions after calls, including:

  • Physical or mental exhaustion
  • Feeling despair
  • Being hyper-critical of yourself

These feelings are exacerbated during days of back-to-back calls or when professionals have frequent calls scheduled. The feelings of dread, anxiety, tiredness, and dislike contribute to burnout and employee dissatisfaction.


What Can You Do About It?

There is no one strategy for eliminating Zoom fatigue. Instead, employers, small business owners, and client-facing contractors can take numerous different steps to reduce Zoom fatigue and related stress. This includes:

  • Allowing images or black screens from participants at Zoom meetings (especially internal ones)
  • Reducing Zoom meetings to business-necessary ones and allowing instant messages, emails, or even recorded one-way communications instead
  • Facilitating more in-person employee and client interactions through coworking spaces

At Quest, we're big fans of reducing Zoom fatigue and fostering genuine workplace connections. That's why we build our hospitality-driven coworking spaces to facilitate flexible work schedules, company meetings of all sizes, and in-person client meetings. 


Reach out today to learn more about what we offer in each of our South Florida and New York City locations.




Quest Workspaces

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