'Zoom fatigue': 4 causes, and solutions for leaders to know

Zoom and other online conferencing platforms can be psychologically tiring, researchers found in the first study to deconstruct Zoom published Feb. 24 in Technology, Mind and Behavior.

Researchers dissected Zoom and assessed it on its individual technical aspects. They outlined four causes of "Zoom fatigue" with respective solutions on managing it in a Feb. 23 article about the study.

Four things to know:

1. Large face sizes and excessive eye contact
Researchers found that Zoom makes listeners feel like they're being watched, triggering public-speaking phobias. Unnaturally large face sizes simulate having intimate conversations and disrupt personal boundaries.

Solution: Reduce the size of the Zoom window, decreasing face size and creating a personal bubble between yourself and your colleagues.

2. Real-time feedback of yourself 
Research has shown that there is negative feedback associated with looking at yourself in a mirror. Videoconferencing often has constant real-time footage of yourself, which researchers say induces stress.

Solution: Users should choose the "hide self" option once they see themselves the first time and know they are properly framed.

3. Video chats decrease mobility
Research shows that people perform better when they are moving.

Solution: Set the camera up farther away than usual to allow yourself space to pace. Turn off the camera to have time to move around.

4. Video chats affect body language processing
Communicating results in a larger mental load because subtle body language doesn't come across well on camera, requiring users to work harder to send nonverbal signals such as a head nod or a thumbs up. This can be mentally taxing.

Solution: Turn off the camera to allow your brain a break from the overload.

To read the full report, click here.

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