How To Avoid Video Conference Fatigue

how to avoid video conference fatigue

How to avoid video conference fatigue and stay healthy highlights benefits, and health risks. It also gives tips on how to manage physical and mental nuisances from excessive video conferencing.

The tips on how to avoid video conference fatigue and stay healthy are very crucial in this season of triple stressors of COVID-19, lockdown, and social distancing. While there are benefits of video conferences, the negative impact on our health cannot be ignored.  An example is the new widespread condition known as video call fatigue or Zoom fatigue.

Experts found that video call fatigue arises from a lack of eye contact, slow or interrupted internet speed. As well as self-imposed pressure to perform, and more hours on the screen time. All these factors may make video calls tiring and inevitably contribute to irritability.

Video Conference Is Major Tool For Work-From-Home

Working from home is not a new phenomenon. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become the new normal for many workers.  The major benefit of a video conference is that it makes work-from-home a workable possibility. Aside from using video conferences to keep your job going, it has also enabled your social contact with friends, family, and colleagues – without physical contact. 

But the intention of video conference use has gone beyond the regular to a higher level that is the ‘new normal’. The list of what you can do with a video conference is endless. From serious board room meetings to global briefings, social parties, academic tutorials, and marketing meetings. You can even video chat your friend while cooking your dinner or taking a bath.  So if all these group chats are meant to be fun, why are they distracting and tiring?

Why Do I Feel Stressed ‘Zooming’ My Friends?

how to avoid video conference fatigue

Well, Zooming your friends should be a calming pastime, right? So if the call is supposed to be enjoyable, why should it feel tedious and draining. And why are you still joining Zoom chats? Are you joining because you want to, or that you must? A popular assumption is that a good video chat with friends should have less ‘Zoom fatigue’. Unfortunately, that is not the case. This is because large group chats erase your personal entity and lessen your power of individuality. In the end, the intended stress-free benefit is lost.

How Video Conference Cause Fatigue

Loss of non-verbal cues

While some people breeze through video chats like a professional. Others may find it hard to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language – that exist in in-person meetings. Therefore the effort to focus on the loss or absence of these subtleties, in a video conference, can be mentally exhausting.   

Delays on conferencing systems

At times, there is this silence in between conversations. In a real-life conversation, silence builds a natural rhythm that helps you gather your thoughts. However, when it happens in a video call, you become agitated. This then triggers a negative perception of the responder as being aloof.

The pressure of being watched

Your physical presence on camera increases the awareness of being watched and assessed. This means you are conscious of everyone’s gaze.  Consequently, you feel the social pressure and the urge to give a perfect performance. This, of course, can more stressful, mostly when you try to control your behaviour in front of the camera.

Boredom of using same space to chat

The familiar separation aspects of our work, friends, and family are now happening in the same space – on a computer screen. It is the boring repetition of the same space that is making us more susceptible to negative feelings.

The ‘fad’ pressure to video call

There is a chance that people are being forced to do video calls because it is trendy. But, the fact that most people are doing video chats does not mean you should. So, if someone asks for a video chat that you think could be done with a phone call, or an email, suggest this option.

Lack of social breaks during video conferences

The lack of social breaks, before and after virtual events, contributes to the sense of fatigue people feel.  Without the informal in-person relaxation time to break the monotony of back- to- back virtual meetings, the result is mental fatigue. Or worse, panic attacks.

Health Risks of Video Conferences

how to avoid video conference fatigue

In some instances, people are finding that they are feeling more exhausted when working from home than they would when working in the office. Find listed below other health risks:

  • Mental health depreciation which may trigger depression.
  • Higher anxiety levels in those already experiencing such feelings.
  • Increased tiredness.
  • Susceptibility to panic attacks.
  • Worsened loneliness due to the absence of human contact.
  • Loss of individuality and persona may cause withdrawal into self.

Ways To Limit Video Conference Fatigue

There are many ways that people can try to limit video call fatigue, as follows:

Limit video calls to those necessary

In order to ease video conference fatigue, experts suggest limiting video calls to those that are necessary. This means turning on the camera should be optional. While it can be tempting to turn everything into a video call, most times this can cause more harm than good.

Keep video presentations precise and delightful

One of the ways to grip your audience’s attention is to keep your presentations precise, logical, and delightful. That will sustain their interest and remove the anxiety.

Consider alternative forms of communication

how to avoid video conference fatigue

Surprisingly, video calls may not always be the most efficient option. When it comes to work, experts recommend sharing files with clear notes can be a better option to lessen information overload. Also, if you can do a meeting via a phone call or by email, people may find these options less tiring.

Have smaller conference calls

Having fewer people in each call can mean that each person has more time to speak. When there are too many people all trying to speak at once, it can end up with nobody being able to get their points across. This may cause frustration and irritability. It also means that the meeting can feel like a waste of time.

Make workers feel-good

Also, take time during meetings to catch up before jumping into business. Try to reconnect with the world by spending time to check into people’s welfare.  This will help maintain trust and reduce fatigue and anxiety.

Establish rules

Setting guidelines, such as everyone having to mute their microphones when they are not speaking, can help keep things proceed smoothly.

Schedule social breaks in between video meetings

how to avoid video conference fatigue

When working from home, it is important to schedule regular short breaks away from the computer, and between video calls. For example, you can try stretching, have a drink, or do a bit of exercise. Short breaks are refreshing. They lessen tiredness and inertia.

Bottom Line

How to avoid video conference fatigue highlights the benefits of video calls, mainly as a convenient alternative, to help us stay in touch with family, colleagues, and friends.

However, excessive video calls can lead to physical and mental fatigue.

Therefore try to be cautious of the health risks when working from home or meeting other social obligations.

Equally, it is useful to keep in mind that video calls are not the same as an in-person meeting.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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