Zoom Fatigue Phenomenon, Tired Online Meetings

Social distancing and quarantine at home make most people feel trapped with their gadgets. The goals also vary, whether it's for entertainment, study, or work such as holding online meetings via applications. The number of online meetings is admittedly quite tiring. This phenomenon was later called zoom fatigue, which was taken from the name of one of the online meeting applications, namely Zoom. What causes zoom fatigue and how to fix it?

The reason online meetings are tiring (zoom fatigue)

The phenomenon of zoom fatigue or fatigue that arises after conducting online meetings is increasingly prevalent in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Video chats are more common than face-to-face meetings to keep you connected even when you're working from home.

Finally, most people spend most of their time staring at their phones and laptop screens. This habit makes some people feel tired quickly, especially those who conduct online meetings. What makes online meetings so tiring?

1. Different levels of concentration and attention

Reported by Mindful, a person's level of concentration and attention when conducting online meetings is different. Most people will focus more on the visual cues gleaned from body language.

Meanwhile, not a few of them conduct online meetings while checking email or doing other work. The focus that should be used to talk and listen carefully to other people becomes divided by doing different things at the same time.

The silent response from other online meeting participants was also the reason for zoom fatigue. For example, when you ask other people who are on the platform and they don't respond, you are worried about whether the internet connection is working or not.

2. Internet connection problem

According to research from the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, a slow internet connection when connected to other people can cause discomfort.

In fact, a 1-2 second delay in responding to someone can make the person look at you as unfocused or unfriendly.

As a result, this feeling is the mastermind behind the emergence of zoom fatigue. In addition to having to pay attention to the internet connection, the impact of multitasking also worsens these feelings when looking at other people.

3. Excessive eye contact

Did you realize that when you are in an online meeting, you will see more than 1 face on the screen? This allows you to make eye contact with many people at once.

This turned out to have a major effect on increasing stress in zoom fatigue because the amount of eye contact made at one time is not normal, even when you are not talking though.

Another factor that triggers discomfort is the size of the laptop or computer screen which also determines the size of the face of the person you are talking to.

When someone's face is too close to our eyes, the brain perceives it as something intense, such as a threat or conflict.

Does zoom fatigue also appear when interacting online with friends?

The reason why online meetings can lead to zoom fatigue is in large part due to the feeling of having to focus on someone else on the screen due to the demands of the job. So, what about video calls between friends or other family members that are less formal?

According to Gianpiero Petriglieri, associate professor at INSEAD, told the BBC, the phenomenon of zoom fatigue can also be encountered when interacting with friends or outside the context of work.

It's just that the fatigue may be felt less than when conducting online meetings at work.

Video calls with friends and other family members are supposed to be fun, but there are some people who feel like joining is a 'must'. As a result, these 'musts' make people feel they are spending more time than resting.

In essence, tiring online meetings can appear even though you are interacting with friends. However, being able to be yourself while participating in the chat shouldn't have that much of an impact on you.

Tips to get rid of fatigue due to zoom fatigue

Like it or not, online meetings are an obligation to connect with coworkers and get work done. However, you don't need to worry because zoom fatigue can be overcome in several ways, such as:

1. Take some time before starting the online meeting

One of the things you can do to make online meetings less tiring is to take the time before you start. That is, you can take a deep breath and feel yourself in the chair.

Then, try to rearrange the contents of your mind until you can concentrate fully. If you're feeling anxious or busy yourself, practicing breathing techniques to relieve stress can also help to get rid of the tiredness.

2. Give time to greet online meeting participants

After successfully controlling yourself before starting the online meeting, you start the chat by asking how each coworker is doing. Zoom fatigue will be more likely if the meeting is not preceded by a 'warm-up', such as small talk about daily life.

That way, the atmosphere during work-related conversations may be less rigid and give a more friendly impression.

3. Try to resist multitasking

For some people, they may feel that doing other tasks while meeting online can complete their work faster. The fact is that this is not always the case. Multitasking, especially in the middle of an online meeting, is actually more tiring and triggers zoom fatigue.

The reason is, multitasking during online meetings can actually make the eyes and brain too focused on the screen. It's a good idea to divert your attention and energy from time to time to do other work by looking at other objects besides the laptop screen.

Although you may not be able to see the faces of the meeting participants and vice versa, letting your mind take a break from the screen is good for your health.

4. Take a break every few tens of minutes

A grueling online meeting usually lasts more than an hour and there is not the slightest break. This of course makes the eyes staring at the screen and the mind trying to concentrate on other people's words get tired quickly.

Whenever possible, try to suggest a few minutes of rest between busy online meetings. You and the other participants can use the break time to drink water, go to the toilet, or just stretch because you've been sitting too long.

For people who are used to working in offices, online meetings are part of the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, the time to adjust to this new habit tends to be exhausting, including conducting online meetings. Therefore, it is important to apply different daily activities during working hours and outside working hours.

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