Remember last spring. Terrible news, but nice weather and many thought we would be coming out of this lockdown for good! Little did we know how grim this winter would be, with no warm weather, no long walks and the news has been even worse. We are all exhausted. Many are wondering why they are experiencing burnout. Possibly due to the turbulent times we are in, but as well as this it may be down to the increased time we have been devoting to video conferencing. Also known as zoom fatigue…. As apart from anything else, it seems as if we are having to spend more time on it than ever, we are sick of looking on screens and for those who are studying, teachers have managed to make use of another tool on it, being the daunting “zoom rooms”.
For a start social interaction on zoom and on other video websites are a lot different and I would say a lot harder than it when done face to face. The delays for a start make communicating in a friendly way much more difficult and confusing, not to mention the technological blips! And it is not just zoom, but on other social networking sites, whether video or not, social cues are harder to express and process. And when this issue comes about when we are trying to do work, it does become tiring.
More Intense Focusing
So in any kind of meeting, we are supposed to pay attention. But if we do miss something, then at least we can ask someone else what had just been said. So if we end up switching off for a minute or two, it is not that likely that anyone is going to notice, and you should easily be able to catch up. Nevertheless if we miss something on zoom, then asking questions becomes a lot more difficult. While we obviously have to keep looking into our camera, which can be really tiring.
“Too Much Pressure!”
So I know there is a lot of pressure in day to day life. But in comparison, zoom does seem to be worse. Because in “normal” day to day life, we simply just need to make sure we look decent and that we are organised, yet on zoom there is pressure to make a space in our homes or rooms which can be seen as a professional setting, while making sure that we look decent on camera. Which, as many know, can be down to things like lighting, position of the camera and a lot more. Also it doesn’t help that we can always see ourselves… Yes, I know this does sound a bit ridiculous, but it’s true.
So whilst we can see that zoom is pretty tiring, I think that the fatigue from this is definitely enhanced by other things happening to us all. For instance, all of us are having to adapt to so much change constantly. Whether it is going from being furloughed to working again, going into school or uni or having to work from home or one minute being able to see friends and family then the next minute not. Having to change all the time is rather tiring. Not to mention the extra anxiety it is adding to all of our lives. From what is occurring in the wider world, to the worries of unemployment or even unfair exam results. None of it is good. Finally while being at home all day can sound pretty chill, for many it feels like the opposite as now our working and living space becomes one therefore it often feels as if there can always be more work to be done. Not to mention those who are working from home, often feeling they need to go the extra mile so their job can remain stable.
A Neuropsychological Exploration of Zoom Fatigue | Psychiatric Times
Why Zoom Fatigue is Real and What You Can Do About It | Psychology Today
How to Combat Zoom Fatigue (hbr.org)
The reason Zoom calls drain your energy – BBC Worklife
6 thoughts on “Zoom Fatigue and Burnout”
My experience from online university is that being able to see yourself all day is a lot more draining than many would expect. On a normal day you’d maybe see yourself a few times where you might brush your hair, readjust your clothing etc., but constantly being able to see and scrutinise your own appearance is exhausting and often means you’re not paying attention at all to what’s being said! The added complexity of mixing your home environment with work, creating a space which is neither fully functional for productivity, nor relaxation, is equally difficult. Great article, an important reminder to everyone to not be too hard on ourselves when working from home!
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That’s very true, fortunately with online sixth form there are only a few lessons where we have to do zooms, but doing it all day would be exhausting. Already most are very self critical, and considering the difficult times we are in, having to spend all day looking at yourself through a screen isn’t going to help 😦
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So relatable! I find the whole staring into the camera the entire time extremely exhausting and in a way it actually disrupts my concentration a bit.
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Same, looking at either yourself or loads of others through a screen is so tiring and distracting tbh.
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Spot on. I had a zoom meeting yesterday with someone I’d never met before. At the end of two hours using all my concentration, and added making sure I was coming across well, I was exhausted. I still feel exhausted today but the pandemic has left us always feeling tired.
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Agreed, the pandemic has certainly taken a toll on us all.
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