The Real Cause of Zoom Fatigue

Zoom fatigued women on a virtual meeting

The real reason virtual meetings can be so exhausting

Since the beginning of the pandemic and the upsurge in virtual meetings, there has been many articles written about “Zoom Fatigue” and the need to better manage the scheduling of back to back virtual meetings.

But why are virtual meetings so exhausting?

Is it because we literally go from one virtual meeting straight into the next, without so much as a couple of minutes break? In the office we may have had back to back meetings, but there was a few minutes between the end of one and beginning of another, time enough for a comfort break, top up your coffee and a catch up with colleagues before it was down to the business of the next meeting.

In the virtual world, we appear to have overlooked the importance of those breaks between meetings and now many of us are jumping straight from one zoom call to the next!

This week Korn Ferry have published an article about what they believe to be the real reason behind “Zoom Fatigue” In a recent study it was not so much the back to back meetings, but the real exhaustion came from continuously being on camera. It is unnatural to sit staring at yourself on screen, there is no rest for our eyes as we sit focused on the tiny images of our screens and we have to rely solely on facial expressions, as the normal body language cues are not visible on screen. Combine these factors with continuous virtual meetings and the effect is we are left feeling drained and exhausted!

As virtual meetings are here to stay, we have an opportunity to establish some best practice guidelines, which won’t create brain overwhelm and leave us feeling exhausted. The Korn Ferry article is definitely worth a read.

One tip mentioned in the article which we particularly like is to change your Zoom settings so that you don’t see yourself on screen, but the other attendees will still be able to see you, so it won’t affect engagement with the group.

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