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Zoom Fatigue? Yeah, It’s Real. 4 Strategies to Cope

Zoom Fatigue? Yeah, It’s Real. 4 Strategies to Cope cover
Zoom fatigue is a real phenomenon that many of us can relate to. Learn about the scientific study behind it and discover 4 strategies to cope with this draining experience. Find out more in this article from Blue Ridge Technology. #zoomfatigue #remotework #productivity
You’re not imagining it, video calls ARE stressful

Lots of folks were talking about “Zoom fatigue” in the early days of the pandemic: for reasons no one could quite pinpoint, Zoom meetings just seemed to drain the life and energy out of participants.

(By the way, it’s not Zoom’s fault: this kind of fatigue seems endemic to video calling in general, not because of some specific bug on one platform.)

Well, we’ve moved on from the pandemic, but the remote and hybrid work has stuck with us. And for many of us, so has an overabundance of video meetings.

New Study Confirms Zoom Fatigue Is Real

If you do a lot of video calls, then you probably don’t have a hard time agreeing with the premise. We all kind of feel this to be true — but it’s tough to take action without real evidence.

Now we have it.

Some Austrian minds put together a scientific study to look at what happens to our brains during videoconferencing. Here’s how they did it.

They set up two groups of university students, wiring them up for both EEG (brain function) and ECG (heart function). Both groups sat through an identical 50-minute lecture. 35 students watched the lecture via videoconference, while another group watched the same lecture live and in person.

Last, they took self-reports from all participants.

The self-reports were what you’d expect: the live participants were happier, more alert, and more active than the videoconferencers.

And the hard data backed this up, too. The video group registered much higher for concentration, attention, and stress than the live group. Not only that, their heart rates were elevated.

But Why?

The “why” is a little less clear.

The researchers think that all of this is because focusing on video calls is more difficult. We burn through brainpower because we have to concentrate harder and will ourselves to stay engaged.

The delays, stutters, interruptions and so on likely contribute to stress as well, which could explain the elevated heart rate.

Meetings Still Matter

Despite this research and the way many of us feel post-video-call, the simple truth is that meetings still matter. If your team isn’t all in person at a single site, then you’re going to have to have some video calls. And even if they are, you may not be able to avoid videoconferencing with clients, depending on your industry.

So if you can’t get rid of videoconferencing, what can you do?

Here are 4 strategies to cope.

1. Acknowledge the Cost

It starts with acknowledging that video conference meetings have a cost — and it might be over and above those in-person meetings (which we tend to measure in wages and time).

So pay attention to when and how often you’re scheduling calls — and recognize when it might be time to trim them back.

2. Go on a Video Diet

Once you start working the fatigue cost into your calculus, it might affect how quickly you resort to a video call. Could the thing you need to solve be handled via Teams or Slack? Email? An old-school phone call? Walking over to the desk of one of your in-person team members? If so, then cancel the video call and solve the problem another way.

3. Prioritize In-Person

It’s not always possible, but if you have the ability to meet in person, do so. The science is on your side!

4. Go Asynchronous

Sometimes video is better than no video, but consider whether a live meeting (where most of the people are forced to sit there and look attentive/happy) is actually the best option. If you’re relaying information and not expecting real-time back-and-forth, sending an asynchronous video (like a Loom) gets the job done — minus much of the stress.

That’s it for this week’s post. Can we help you build a better comms strategy? Give us a call — or, you know, stop by in person 😉.

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