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CSI Supports: 5 ways to reduce “Zoom fatigue”

Depending on your job or industry, you might be spending a lot more time on video calls lately. While it’s nice to see the (ideally) smiling faces of our friends and co-workers, these calls are not without their frustrations.

It’s kind of hard to believe that in 2020, we’re still having to use the first ten minutes of meetings saying things like “Wait, now I can see you but not hear you. I’m gonna log out and log back in.” But here we are!

Technical difficulties are one thing. But as a recent article on the BBC’s website explains, there are mental and emotional challenges as well. Here are a few of the reasons:

Non-verbal clues:
“Video chats mean we need to work harder to process cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy.”

Cognitive dissonance:
“Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally.”

Silence:
One 2014 study by German academics showed that delays on phone or conferencing systems shaped our views of people negatively: even delays of 1.2 seconds made people perceive the responder as less friendly or focused.”

Self-consciousness:
“When you’re on a video conference, you know everybody’s looking at you; you are on stage, so there comes the social pressure and feeling like you need to perform. Being performative is nerve-wracking and more stressful.”

So what are a bunch of quarantining folks to do if they — like us! — want to move IRL hangouts to online? Happily, experts have some tips:

  1. Limiting video calls to those that are necessary.
  2. Having turning your camera on be optional.
  3. Turning your screen off to the side, instead of facing it head-on.
  4. Take time during meetings to catch up before diving into business.
  5. Build transition periods in between video meetings

If you’re still feeling like your webcam is sapping your lifeforce, Gianpiero Petriglieri — an associate professor studying sustainable learning and development in the workplace — has one last suggestion: Go old school. “Write a letter to someone instead of meeting them on Zoom,” he suggests. “Tell them you really care about them.”


We don’t have time to send you all letters, but we really care about you! Check out our CSI Supports page to find out how we are here for you during the COVID-19 crisis.

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