Zoom was a popular tool even before pandemic but Zoom “Fatigue” has become a buzzword during this period.
We can clearly see how most organization, schools, universities, business and others, who, made a shift to world of Internet; are using Zoom massively. It has become the “New Normal” and is helping people continue their in-process work on, despite the lockdown. However, on the other side, it is also stressing its users. This is what we call, Zoom “Fatigue.”
In simpler words, this phenomenon occurs when your energy has been exhausted due to multiple hours or days of video meetings with your personal and professional connections. The Zoom fatigue is real! And it’s tiresome for those continuing their work and social engagements under shelter-in-place orders.
Here, the question arises that: What exactly leads to Zoom Fatigue and how can one combat this issue?
In this article, we cover few underlying issues and tips to help you get rid of this additional exhaustion.
Let’s check them out!
In an interview to BBC, Gianpiero Petriglieri, an associate professor at Insead and Marissa Shuffler, an associate professor at Clemson University, expresses their views on Zoom fatigue and what challenges it has.
According to Petriglieri, the very first challenge is, a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat. Being on video chats mean we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy and cannot allow you to relax into the conversation naturally.
Besides these, not all users have a strong and robust Internet connection, therefore, there could be a delay of 1.2 seconds and make people perceive the responder as less friendly or focused.
Maintaining silence is another big concern. According to him, “Silence creates a natural rhythm in a real-life conversation. However, when it happens in a video call, you became anxious about the technology.”
Marissa Shuffler adds that if we are physically on camera, we are very conscious of being watched, so there comes the social pressure and feeling that you need to perform. Being performative is nerve-wracking and more stressful. It’s also very hard for people not to gaze at their own face if they can see it on screen, or not to be conscious of how they behave in front of the camera.
However, sudden lockdown, quarantine, social distancing and remote learning also falls into the list of challenges.
How to combat Zoom “Fatigue” during classes?
When it’s about Zoom “Fatigue”, a teacher must acknowledge the reality for their students or participants, in the first place and give them some grace. Not every student wants to face camera or be available the on camera for most time, there are plenty of reasons for it. So, if you are hosting a session, allow your participants to shut off their camera once in a while or during specific parts of the video call. That might mean turning off their camera during a presentation or showing them how to notify you that they have to "go offline." Several platforms even have a function that allows you to indicate your online/offline status. Also, give them breaks when required. Additionally, make attending zoom calls comfortable for them by having some friendly interactions with them.
Maintain Distance Between Yourself And Your Camera/Screen:
As mentioned above, not all students are comfortable on camera; most of them have a subconscious set of proximity boundaries around them. Typically, the nearest zone— around 3 feet or less in front of them- is reserved for their family and friends. So even though the proximity isn’t physical, they may still have some anxiety due to this. So, maintaining some distance may help relax that stressor. Students can push their screen a little farther away from them to feel some relief and have relax zoom session.
Limit onscreen stimuli:
Researches depict that when you’re on video, you tend to spend most of the time gazing at your own face causing more distraction. We also tend to focus on other’s faces, but on their backgrounds as well. For instance, if you’re on a call with ten people, you may feel like looking at their background, observing most details. This behaviour might make them uncomfortable. To combat such mental fatigue, use can plain backgrounds or a poster, or agree as a group to have everyone who is not talking turn off their video or simply, allow your students to have their camera off when it’s not necessary. It could also help your concentration increase. It will make you feel like you’re in an adjoining room, so it might be less tiring.
Put Others Things Off:
When on Zoom call, you need to concentrate more than your traditional classes. So, close your email, silence your phone, and put other works on hold; just focus, breathe, and stay in the moment of your call. Such breaks from everything else even during a zoom call can help reduce the weight of the always-on environment and help student understand the provided information easily.
Scientific researches show that splitting our attention across multiple activities burdens the brain and often causes individuals to be less productive. Multitasking requires more energy and is less efficient for the body. Therefore, focus on one work task at a time. It will be more effective over the course of your day. Also, while on call, rather focusing on typing or reading emails as you listen, prefer focusing on the call. This will help you engage with the other participants, increase your understanding of the conversation and better retain the details.
Do you have any other helpful strategies on your mind? If yes, do share them with us.