Annoyed by frequent gazing of one’s own face in the zoom meetings? Here’s what to know and do to stay away from “Zoom Fatigue” during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some experts say that always looking at one’s own image while video meetings can be exhausting. It is like going to work with a mirror constantly in front, staring at oneself for most parts of the day. This weird scenario is actually taking place and has become part of the new normal in this time of crisis. So long as the COVID-19 remains to be a global threat, this kind of scenario may continue for some time. And this “nonverbal overload” can lead to “Zoom Fatigue”, according to the research says Jeremy Bailenson, a Stanford University communication professor.
Bailenson identifies 4 concerns that potentially cause “Zoom Fatigue”:
1. Frequent close-up eye contact. Bailenson says that our faces tend to be much bigger on screen than they would appear in real-life meetings. Additionally, we tend to stimulate frequent eye contact with others on the monitor screen. Normally, the long stretch of direct eye contact is done for close relationships but on Zoom it has become the way we interact with casual acquaintances, coworkers, and even strangers.
2. Viewing oneself during the call. Seeing frequently, one’s own face during video calls can be stressful, Bailenson further said. It is like having someone with a mirror holding in front of you while you go around the office. Sounds weird and annoying.
3. Lack of mobility. Users cannot freely move around during video meetings. As it will be impolite and annoying to others who see one’s constant movement while moving around. Unlike the plane phone calls where one can freely move around while talking with someone. It is not impolite and not annoying as well to the other party.
4. It takes more effort to observe for non-verbal cues. Even without words, communication is still ongoing on Zoom using facial expressions. One needs to be constantly aware of what facial expressions one gives while in a Zoom meeting.
Here are some things to do to avoid “Zoom Fatigue”:
- Hide the view of oneself during video calls after setting up the camera according to one’s preference.
- Reduce the screen size of the Zoom windows so faces will be smaller to look at.
- Or perhaps, one can opt to turn off the video especially for longer meetings or when one need not talk much.
Bailenson has been suggesting that Zoom should make necessary changes to its interface. So that it will address some of the issues brought about in the research and hopefully reduces fatigue. Zoom’s spokesperson has advised the users to take a break every now and then.
Video Conferencing tools like Zoom have played a critical role as more people are working remotely to minimize COVID-19 virus transmission. Zoom in particular was overwhelmed by the surge of usage in 2020, a quantum leap from 10 million daily meetings to more than 300 million, a whopping 2900% increase.
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