Infrastructure has seen investments; platforms have been developed and strengthened to match the rising demand – and some issues have become apparent, such as virtual fatigue – more commonly known as “Zoom fatigue”.
This week, we’re continuing our look into the causes behind Zoom fatigue.
One researcher likened talking to your colleagues from your home to talking to a professor or older family member in the same place you’d talk to a friend or a date, for example, at a club. Places and spaces have associations, and it might make someone feel uncomfortable to show their home surroundings to people they work with, it might feel like an invasion of privacy or personal space. Our homes are often our safe spaces, where we can relax and be ourselves, but at work we often try to keep colleagues at arms’ length – for some people this is a key part of keeping a professional working relationship. Video calling without a backdrop can feel a bit like inviting a colleague into your home, which for some people might feel rather stressful – especially if you don’t have a home office or designated work area, or the time or space to set one up.
Working from home is sometimes quite a challenge, even for the most technologically-literate of us. There are sometimes tech problems that are out of our hands (such as server disruptions or slow internet) which can often lead to increased stress, especially if they are frequent. For people who sometimes struggle with technology, this can add even greater stress, as they may have to learn how to use new software without the aid of colleagues nearby.
Silence has its place in meetings and conversations, of course, but even slightly longer- or shorter-than-normal stretches of silence can leave us feeling uncomfortable. In-call technical problems and delays can sometimes cause this to happen – a study was done that revealed that even a one or two second delay in replying to a question or comment meant that people perceived others as less friendly or less engaged. Fortunately, though, the latter part of this is something that we can adjust to over time, and also something that people who have been using the technology for some time may already be used to. With increasingly fast and reliable internet connections, and better hardware, too, it becomes less of an issue.
Next week we’ll continue to look at some of the issues caused by Zoom fatigue, and also some of the things you can do to help lessen the effects.