Zoom Exhaustion in the Covid Age

Zoom Exhaustion in the Covid Age

02.06.2021

Remember when we used to pop into co-workers’ offices for a quick chat or to try out an idea? When a brainstorming session could be done spontaneously? Now we need to plan a meeting to make a plan about a meeting. It’s endless. Who the heck wants to have all these meetings?

Video conferencing platforms have been the biggest winners in the age of COVID-19. Look at the numbers:

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Video conferencing, or “Zooming”, as it is now commonly called, has been a lifesaver for businesses during the pandemic; allowing millions of companies to remain in operation.

However, since April 2020, there have been many reports of fatigue or even exhaustion from users of this technology. When meetings look less like an office or a boardroom and more like the opening credits of The Brady Bunch, it’s a problem.

Virtira commissioned a study about Zoom exhaustion in early 2021. We surveyed over 1700 workers, managers, and executives, across all ages and demographics, to find out why this was happening, and what could be done about it. Here are the key findings:

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Many people will be going back to the office, but not everyone. Andrew Hewitt, Senior Analyst at market research firm Forrester, reports that 60% of companies will offer a hybrid work model post-pandemic, allowing employees a mix of home and office work. 10% of companies will be staying fully home-based while just 30% of companies will be returning to a fully staffed office space.

Prior to COVID-19, most long-term remote employees rarely enabled their webcams during calls unless deemed necessary for a presentation or a sales meeting. Once the pandemic hit, though, it became common practice to keep the cameras on, all the time. That is when the reports of exhaustion began.

Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) has studied this phenomenon and identified four main causes of Zoom fatigue:

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No wonder we’re feeling tired! As one of our survey subjects said:

"Please let me go back to the office!"

Many people will be going back to the office, but not everyone. Andrew Hewitt, Senior Analyst at Forrester, reports that 60% of companies will, post-pandemic, offer a hybrid work model, allowing employees a mix of home and office work. 10% of companies will be staying fully home-based while just 30% of companies will be returning to a fully staffed office space.

Prevention of Zoom Fatigue

Ask yourselves if the meeting needs video at all. This idea that everybody needs to be on camera, all the time, is the biggest factor in “Zoom Fatigue”.

For larger groups, audio-only meetings usually are just as effective, without the draining effects of the webcam. If you MUST be on video during a call, try these tips to minimize the impact:

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And, for one-on-one meetings, pick up the phone and have an old-fashioned conversation. Still works great!

To download the complete survey, click here.

Get in touch to see how we can help your team succeed in the new remote normal.

Read the full report

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