Zoom Fatigue and How to Prevent It

Zoom Fatigue and How to Prevent It

Author: Niyati Goswami

From conference rooms to Zoom meetings, classrooms to breakout rooms, the world has made a rather dramatic shift to the online world in the past year. And, although the world seems to be returning to its normal, in-person ways, the idea of moving things online to be more accessible seems to be here to stay. Zoom was once universally seen as a blessing. However, through continual use, many experienced both Zoom fatigue and burnout- two clinically different but similar concepts. Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, or physical exhaustion caused by prolonged stress1 . On the other hand, Zoom fatigue describes the tiredness, worry, or burnout associated with overusing virtual platforms of communication2 . While Zoom fatigue is very wide spread – with at least half of working professionals (49%) experiencing this type of fatigue3 .

Zoom fatigue has a variety of causes, ranging from the fact that we have to put in more effort to decipher tone and expressions when a person is on a computer screen, to the strain put on our eyes when we stare at a device for too long.

Signs of Zoom Fatigue 4

It is important to note that while Zoom fatigue and burnout share many of the same symptoms, they are not the same thing. Common signs associated with the zoom fatigue are:

  • Feeling apathetic
  • Lack of work performance
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Insomnia

Measures to Reduce Zoom Fatigue5

“Audio-only” breaks
○ Turning off your camera and not looking at the screen

  • Taking a walk
  • Hide self view
  • Use an external keyboard
  • Meditate6
  • Drink water
  • Do stretches7
    • Wrist stretches
    • Neck and shoulders
    • “Cow and cat” pose
    • Single leg squats
    • Lunges
    • Squeezing a stress ball

Zoom fatigue has made a significant impact on a majority of society, and with online meetings starting to take a more permanent place in our world, it will only continue to affect more people around the globe. Even before the widespread use of Zoom, work burnout was relatively common, so with an added global health crisis and more strain on our bodies and minds through online meetings, it certainly isn’t becoming any easier to combat burnout. However, we can always take steps to prevent burnout from setting in, allowing us to work safely and efficiently from the comfort of our homes.

References:

1 Melinda. “Burnout Prevention and Treatment.” HelpGuide.org, 19 Apr. 2021, www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm.
“A Neuropsychological Exploration of Zoom Fatigue.” Psychiatric Times, www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/psychological-exploration-zoom-fatigue.

3 Virtira. “Nearly Half of Professionals Experience ‘Zoom Fatigue’ and Burnout from Online Meetings.” GlobeNewswire News Room, Virtira, 15 Apr. 2021, www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2021/04/15/2210768/0/en/Nearly-Half-of-Professionals-Experi ence-Zoom-Fatigue-and-Burnout-from-Online-Meetings.html.

4 White, Taneasha. “Zoom Fatigue: Symptoms, Causes, Coping Tips.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 22 Feb. 2021, www.healthline.com/health/zoom-fatigue.

5 Posted by R. Ryan Patel DO, and R. Ryan Patel DO. “Managing Zoom Fatigue.” Emotional Fitness, 16 Apr. 2021, u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2021/04/16/managing-zoom-fatigue/.
6 “7 Healthy Study Break Ideas to Increase Your Productivity.” NAU, 1 May 2018, canada1.national.edu/7-healthy-study-break-ideas-to-increase-your-productivity/.7 Dickens, Louise. “15 Simple And Quick Office Stretches To Boost Work Efficiency.” Lifehack, Lifehack, 14 July 2014, www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/15-simple-and-quick-office-stretches-boost-work-efficiency.html.

Authored by Niyati Goswami.

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