As Zoom calls became the new normal for office workers, the calls are never-ending and thus, are taking a toll on people. More and more people are now tired from taking voice/video calls over the conferencing platforms and exhaustion is seeping in.
Constant videoconferencing can be fatiguing but there are ways that can help alleviate the exhaustion associated with it.
As Zoom calls became the new normal for office workers, the calls are never-ending and thus, are taking a toll on people. More and more people are now tired from taking voice/video calls over the conferencing platforms and exhaustion is seeping in. A Stanford professor Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) has studied the pattern of office people and has noted the possible causes for this exhaustion.
According to Bailenson, there are four main causes leading to general videoconferencing fatigue. His remarks in the academic paper for Technology, Mind and Behavior, Mind and Behavior indicates that constant videoconferencing can be fatiguing but there are ways that can help alleviate the exhaustion associated with it.
The first reason Bailenson pointed out for fatigue and video calls being taxing is the eye contact. He stated that there is an “unnatural” amount of eye contact within these meetings via video. Usually in a meeting, people focus on the one who is speaking however, the video conferencing allows a user to observe all people in the meeting at once. Also, the videos appearing on the screen is in a close-up form and Bailenson asserted that a face this close (on screen) allows the human brain to interpret it as an intense situation. For this, he has advised people to keep the videos/ tabs smaller and constantly use a keyboard for the brain to study the gap and not take it as an intense affair.
The other reason Bailenson gave is that in most meetings, viewers also keep looking at themselves in the camera making them more conscious as well as critical of self. Usually this is not the case when in a normal meeting that takes place among office premises. Therefore, it is advisable to hide self-view, after making all the necessary adjustments. The third reason listed out by Bailenson is that the video chats can dramatically reduce mobility among people. According to him, usually in-person and audio phone conversations can allow people to walk around and move, which is not possible with videoconferencing. Since most cameras have a set field of view, a person is stuck in the same spot. For this, Bailenson has recommended people to think more when it comes to the room they’re videoconferencing in. An arrangement that can allow people to place the camera a little far and create distance or flexibility can be helpful.
Going by the report, cognitive load is also higher during video conferencing than in in-personal meetings. He explained that the human brain works harder during video calls to send and receive signals. A quick fix to this will be turning off the camera occasionally and stretching out a bit. One can also turn the body away from the screen for a minute to give the brain some rest.