We’ve adapted to using Zoom and other video conferencing or communication software in lieu of actual face-to-face contact – but not without some issues. Virtual fatigue, or ‘Zoom fatigue’, is a commonly reported psychological side effect of using video conferencing tools this way.
This week we’ll continue to look into some of the things you can do to manage or minimise its effects.
A common mistake when using voice or video chat is to try to split your attention between the call and other applications or tasks. Trying to juggle too many things at once is often a major cause of mental fatigue in general, and this applies in a virtual environment too. Trying to manage your own appearance on camera, concentrate on others’, focus on the topic of discussion, make notes AND complete other tasks can be exhausting.
Distractions such as social media or similar recreational websites and apps should be kept to a minimum as well, as they can add to this effect.
Delays, technical difficulties and cancellations affect all kinds of meetings, and time should be allowed for these during video meetings too. Perhaps more, in fact, because of the increased possibility of technical issues with people working remotely and on potentially unreliable or shared connections. Allowing time for these kinds of disruptions can reduce the overall feeling of stress on all participants, which can in turn help to alleviate or reduce virtual fatigue.
Schedules and systems are still rather disrupted, and people are trying their best to manage them. It’s worth noting that disruptions like this this can come in many shapes and sizes, and can impact people’s work schedules or ability to concentrate. Family emergencies, school or childcare issues, or other potentially unforeseen circumstances that can arise should be dealt with as compassionately as possible to reduce stress on the person in question.
Other personal issues, including mental health issues, have also become more prevalent with the change in circumstances, so it’s important that the welfare of participants is treated as paramount. Kindness and understanding can go a long way towards helping someone deal with stress, and reducing the impact of virtual fatigue.
For more resources on mental health and wellness issues, see our other blog posts on Calm and Headspace – we’ll be returning to similar topics soon on our blog, too!