Zoom Fatigue: Symptoms, Causes, Coping Tips (2022)

Zoom Fatigue: Symptoms, Causes, Coping Tips (1)Share on Pinterest

Have you ever logged out of your last Zoom meeting for the day and found yourself completely drained?

If so, you’re not alone. A lot of people are dealing with Zoom fatigue (sometimes called virtual fatigue). It refers to the exhaustion you feel after any kind of video call or conference.

It’s not a formal diagnosis, but Zoom fatigue is very real. Krystal Jagoo, MSW, RSW, notes that it feels “similar to what we tend to think of as exhaustion or burnout.”

A lot of it comes down to the “increased cognitive demands of video conferencing communication,” Jagoo adds.

Even if you’re already plugged into modern technology, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an entirely new meaning to the phrase “digital world.”

There are definite benefits to things like Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime, from allowing people to safely connect face-to-face to making certain jobs more accessible for those with chronic health conditions.

But as with most good things, there’s a cost.

Here’s a closer look at how Zoom fatigue shows up and how to deal with it.

Work-based burnout is nothing new, especially for people working in service-based careers.

(Video) Ask the Expert: ZOOM Fatigue

On top of the usual work-related stress, the pandemic has caused just about everyone’s mental health to take a dip.

And yet, most of us are expected to continue working as if nothing has happened. The pandemic has affected many lives. It’s only natural that our work interactions are also affected.

The tell-tale signs of traditional exhaustion include feeling apathetic and generally exhausted, and having reduced work performance.

Key signs of burnout can also include:

  • forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty maintaining relationships and being present with loved ones
  • frustration and irritability with co-workers
  • physical symptoms, like muscle tension, pain, fatigue, and insomnia

Zoom fatigue has very similar ways of showing up, with the primary difference being that it actually contributes to overall burnout. It also tends to be linked to an overuse of virtual meetings.

Do you find yourself avoiding, canceling, or rescheduling video conference calls?

Have you noticed that after a meeting, you’re incredibly tense or tired?

Has switching to Zoom meetings impaired your ability to multitask or handle your work responsibilities?

These are all potential signs that Zoom fatigue has set in.

It’s not just your imagination. Several factors make virtual meetings legitimately tiring.

(Video) How to Cope with Zoom Fatigue

Your brain has to work harder

You have to work harder to read people’s facial expressions and decode tone through a computer screen.

Even though it isn’t something you consciously realize, it takes more effort to have conversations through Zoom than it does in real life.

“When engaging in such interaction, folx need to create the illusion of eye contact while also mentally processing their verbal communication,” Jagoo says.

As far as technology has come, there’s also still a slight delay for verbal responses during virtual connections. This can strain your ability to interpret the words of the person you’re talking with.

You’re expected to be ‘on’

There are some very weird expectations that come along with working from home, pandemic concerns aside.

Some companies require their employees to dress as if they’re coming to work. Others forbid employees from taking calls in their bedroom (not ideal if you live in a tiny studio or have roommates).

And then there are the random Slack calls that sometimes pop up, unannounced.

It’s one thing to stroll into a conference room when you’re already in the office, but having to suddenly prime yourself and your home for an unexpected team meeting is completely different.

Home life interference

Due to some of these expectations, sometimes bits of your home life show up during meetings. This can feel a little embarrassing or overwhelming (even though your boss is likely dealing with the same things).

Having to walk your team through a budget meeting while your dog is barking, your toddler is crying, and your teens are arguing over who is using whose headphones can be a lot to manage.

Balancing work with the rest of your life is hard enough as it is, but working from home adds a new layer to the challenge.

How to deal with it

(Video) Zoom Fatigue: What it Means and What You Can Do

For better or worse, video calls (and working from home) aren’t going anywhere. Fortunately, there are things you can do to take back some control and not feel so drained after a Zoom meeting.

Feel OK to tap out

There are always going to be meetings that you can’t get out of attending, but there are also ones that you can most definitely pass on (or watch a recording of later).

When you do have to be on a video call, Jagoo advises taking breaks when you can.

If you feel yourself starting to get lost or tuning out, a simple “I’m going to turn off my video because it makes it easier for me to listen” can go a long way.

There’s also no shame in simply saying you need to turn off your video while you switch rooms.

There can be a lot of pressure to commit to every meeting and task due to the false equivalence of being at home meaning “not working,” but we all know that’s not the case.

Schedule Zoom meetings for things you actually want to do

One hard part about Zoom meetings is the expectation of professionalism.

You might come to dread simply seeing a Zoom notification because you associate it with having to tidy up your background, force a smile, or strain to hear someone dealing with internet connectivity issues.

Doing fun things over Zoom — catching up with family, watching a movie with your best friend, learning a new craft — can help weaken this negative association around Zoom.

Plus, scheduling time to just catch up with friends is always a great idea in these times.

Your friends and family understand the pressure you’re under, and you all can agree to have grace for each other.

If it isn’t mandatory, turn your video off

Every work environment is a bit different, but if you have the ability to turn off your camera sometimes, do it!

(Video) Thorn Winkler on Coping with Zoom Fatigue

If you need to multitask — folding the laundry, nursing, making lunch — turning off your video can not only enable you to maximize your time, but feel less pressure to appear in a certain way through the screen.

Jagoo also suggests taking a moment “to assess whether video conferencing is even needed.” Would an audio call work just as well?

Figure out a format that works best for you

If you have any control over your scheduling, aim to figure out what works best for your schedule and for your mental health.

Maybe stacking all your mandatory Zoom meetings at the beginning of the week works best for you. Or maybe you’d prefer to spread them throughout the week. That way, no singular day feels overloaded.

You could create boundaries where your work calendar is unavailable for meetings until after 12 p.m.

Take advantage of the little things you actually have more control over now that you’re working from home.

Work-related burnout is a common issue. An ongoing global health crisis certainly doesn’t help things.

Zoom meetings (and other fixtures of work-from-home life) are likely here to stay, so consider ways that you can keep up with your work and center your own wellness.

If you’re a manager or run your own business, you can help your employees by extending some extra grace. Keep lines of communication open, and be willing to be flexible in your expectations.

Taneasha White is a Black, queer lover of words, inquisition, and community, and has used her role within both literary and organizational spaces to make room for folks who are often cast aside. She’s the founder and editor of UnSung Literary Magazine, a flash fiction and poetry publication focused on offering artistic space for marginalized voices; a guest editor with Quail Bell Magazine; and co-host of the podcast “Critiques for The Culture,” where media is dissected through humor and a sociopolitical lens. You can find her work in Prism, Well + Good, Rewire News Group, Black Youth Project, them., and more.

(Video) Three #GiveGreatVoice Tips for Zoom Fatigue

FAQs

What are the causes of Zoom fatigue? ›

Thus, on top of the stress of keeping intense close-up eye contact, seeing yourself while talking to your coworkers, and suffering from a lack of usual mobility, Zoom attendees are also carrying a heavier cognitive load, all contributing to Zoom fatigue.

Do you have Zoom fatigue 7 ways to cope? ›

7 Ways to Combat 'Zoom Fatigue'
  • Set an agenda. Then follow it.
  • Hide your own video from yourself.
  • Don't let others see you, either.
  • Touch up your appearance.
  • Work on your voice.
  • Schedule blocks of quiet time.
  • Get up between meetings.

What is the solution to Zoom fatigue? ›

Use the 20-20-20 Rule for Your Eyes

For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away. If you find yourself suffering from tired eyes, try the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away.

What is Zoom fatigue meaning? ›

In short, Zoom fatigue is a general feeling of mental fatigue and exhaustion caused by video conferencing. If you're in front of the camera all day or required to take part in multiple video calls each day, it will ultimately take its toll on you and your mental stamina.

Who is affected by Zoom fatigue? ›

They found that overall, one in seven women – 13.8 percent – compared with one in 20 men – 5.5 percent – reported feeling “very” to “extremely” fatigued after Zoom calls.

How common is Zoom fatigue? ›

If so, you're not alone. A lot of people are dealing with Zoom fatigue (sometimes called virtual fatigue). It refers to the exhaustion you feel after any kind of video call or conference. It's not a formal diagnosis, but Zoom fatigue is very real.

How do you Zoom on how do you survive? ›

Zoom Fatigue Solutions That Actually Work: Tips for Making Unavoidable Video Calls More Bearable
  1. Always Have an Agenda. ...
  2. Schedule Breaks. ...
  3. Make Meetings Shorter (Yes, All of Them) ...
  4. Hide 'Self-View' ...
  5. Turn Off Your Camera Entirely. ...
  6. Avoid Multitasking. ...
  7. Schedule Screen-Free Time.
11 Mar 2021

How do you avoid meeting fatigue? ›

How to avoid Zoom fatigue
  1. 1) Don't distract yourself with other screen based activities.
  2. 2) Turn off self view.
  3. 3) When it comes to social Zoom meetings, go old school and use voice calls.
  4. 4) Minimise the Zoom screen.
  5. 5) Get physical when you take breaks.

How do you stop Zoom fatigue in the workplace? ›

Coping With Zoom Fatigue
  1. Ground Yourself Before Video Conferencing Meetings.
  2. Take Brief Breaks.
  3. Find Connection Otherwise.
  4. Consider If Video Conferencing Is Needed.
  5. Advocate for Yourself When You Feel Fatigued.
  6. Make Video Conferencing Easier.
23 May 2022

How does Zoom affect students? ›

However, the worst part of attending virtual classes is the Zoom fatigue. Zoom fatigue, according to Psychiatric Times, is the feeling of burnout and tiredness linked to using video calls. Symptoms of Zoom fatigue include difficulty concentrating, fatigue and muscle tension, according to Healthline.

How do you mentally prepare for a zoom meeting? ›

If you're still not used to work-by-Zoom, even a year in, you're far from alone.
...
Give yourself permission to:
  1. briefly turn off your camera to stand up and stretch.
  2. rest your eyes by giving yourself a 2-minute window-gazing break.
  3. find a more comfortable position.
9 Jun 2021

What causes fatigue? ›

Most of the time fatigue can be traced to one or more of your habits or routines, particularly lack of exercise. It's also commonly related to depression. On occasion, fatigue is a symptom of other underlying conditions that require medical treatment.

Why do people use Zoom? ›

Zoom also has the best video resolution of any video conferencing platform, though there are limitations. You get high-definition resolution with the free version and up to 1080p with paid accounts. The quality of the meeting is also related to the quality of your internet connection.

Why are online meetings so exhausting? ›

Whatever video platform you're using, you've no doubt experiencing serious Zoom fatigue. According to neuroscience experts, our systems find staring so directly not just at our own but at other people's faces on screens unnatural - it gives us so much information to process. It's brain overload.

How do you connect with people over Zoom? ›

How to invite others during a meeting
  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Start or join a meeting.
  3. Click Participants in the meeting controls.
  4. Click Invite at the bottom of the participants panel.
  5. Choose from the following invite options:
16 Aug 2022

Who is most likely to report high levels of Zoom fatigue? ›

In a recent working paper, involving an online survey of more than 10,500 people, they reported that Zoom fatigue is real and that women are more susceptible to it than men, and they identified several factors that explained that difference.

How much Zoom is too much? ›

However, both because of needing to leave adequate time to focus, as well as the realities of how much productive work can actually be accomplished in a day, we recommend no more than two to three hours each day spent in virtual (video) meetings, with at least a 15 minute break between each meeting.

Does Zoom mirror your face for others? ›

Zoom videos are mirrored by default, because it looks more natural to see yourself reflected back at you in that way. Other participants still see the non-mirrored, normal you. You can turn this mirroring feature off, but it's disorienting and takes some getting used to.

Why do I feel exhausted after a meeting? ›

Our brains are tired and here's why

While interpreting in-person social cues drains little of our energy, searching for verbal cues in a zoom meeting requires much more concentration. As we strain to attend to each speaker, we are less likely to absorb information and have meaningful interactions.

How long is too long on Zoom? ›

Meeting ends after 40 minutes (active or idle)

Only one person remains in the meeting. The meeting will end 40 minutes later if no one else joins.

How do you make Zoom meetings less boring? ›

To overcome this, bring in some humor. Tell a joke at the start of the meeting, or have someone with a good sense of humor tell a funny story. Invite people to use interesting virtual backgrounds. It protects the privacy of their home, and also just lightens the mood.

How do you reduce the needs of a meeting? ›

Tips to reduce the number of meetings
  1. Set aside time for your most pressing tasks.
  2. Use email and team communication apps.
  3. Say no to meetings when necessary.
  4. Suggest having a “meeting-free day”
  5. Create an agenda for every meeting.
  6. Have smaller daily meetings.
  7. Seek feedback from your team.
  8. Use the right tools.
10 Mar 2022

What is screen fatigue? ›

Screen fatigue is basically when, due to long periods of looking at a screen without rest, the muscles in and around our eyes get worn out and strained. One of the reasons for this is that when using screens, our eyes are constantly having to refocus on the tiny pixels that make up elements such as text.

How do you politely ask to turn your camera on? ›

How to Ask Someone to Turn on Their Webcam - YouTube

How many meetings per day is too many? ›

How Many Meetings a Day is Too Many? On average, meetings last between 31 to 60 minutes. So, theoretically, in an 8 hour day, you could squeeze in between 8 to 16 meetings.

How do you get work done during meetings all day? ›

Here are some tips for how to get through the day the best you can, if canceling isn't an option.
  1. Prep for the Meeting. ...
  2. Get Work Done Ahead of Time. ...
  3. Plan on How You'll Take Advantage of Those Bits of In-between Time. ...
  4. Block Off Any Free Time You Do Have. ...
  5. Work in the Meeting (When Possible) ...
  6. Actually Eat Lunch.
19 Jun 2020

How many meetings is normal? ›

Professionals average 25.6 meetings a week, or 5.1 per day. Meetings have increased 69.7% since February 2020 where the average was only 15.1 meetings per week.

What is online fatigue? ›

Online learning fatigue is the overwhelming sense of exhaustion, anxiety, stress, or burnout employees feel due to constant online calls and meetings. Quite similar to “Zoom fatigue,” this state of weariness can pose a challenge to employee learning and development.

What are negative impacts of Zoom? ›

Intensive sitting on Zoom meetings in front of a screen or laptop and phone screens can result in pain in the eyes, exhaustion, blurry vision, fatigue, headache, dry eyes, and other neurological problems and eyestrain. Zoom fatigue is real!

Why is learning so exhausting? ›

The more we use our brains, the more energy is used. This low blood glucose level makes you feel extremely exhausted after long hours of studying.

Why is Zoom important for learning? ›

Using video conferencing to connect students to more experts is useful in more ways than just altering the daily routine. Students are more motivated to learn and work on their studies when they can see the actual connection between what they are learning and the real world.

How do you calm Zoom anxiety? ›

How to manage Zoom anxiety
  1. Minimize your mirror. If you experience high levels or mirror anxiety or self-consciousness in virtual meetings, consider changing up some settings. ...
  2. Go audio-only. When possible, consider turning off your video altogether. ...
  3. Switch to 'speaker only' ...
  4. Move mindfully.

How do you overcome anxiety in a meeting? ›

How to overcome meeting anxiety
  1. Prepare yourself. You may feel better about going into a meeting if you feel prepared. ...
  2. Practice your statements. ...
  3. Reach out to the participants. ...
  4. Use relaxation techniques. ...
  5. Acknowledge your feelings. ...
  6. Speak up early. ...
  7. Engage with the material. ...
  8. Take action steps.

What are 4 symptoms of fatigue? ›

Symptoms of fatigue
  • chronic tiredness or sleepiness.
  • headache.
  • dizziness.
  • sore or aching muscles.
  • muscle weakness.
  • slowed reflexes and responses.
  • impaired decision-making and judgement.
  • moodiness, such as irritability.

What are 3 types of fatigue? ›

There are three types of fatigue: transient, cumulative, and circadian: Transient fatigue is acute fatigue brought on by extreme sleep restriction or extended hours awake within 1 or 2 days.

How can I improve fatigue? ›

Self-help tips to fight tiredness
  1. Eat often to beat tiredness. ...
  2. Get moving. ...
  3. Lose weight to gain energy. ...
  4. Sleep well. ...
  5. Reduce stress to boost energy. ...
  6. Talking therapy beats fatigue. ...
  7. Cut out caffeine. ...
  8. Drink less alcohol.

Why is Zoom called Zoom? ›

In May 2012, the company changed its name to Zoom, influenced by Thacher Hurd's children's book Zoom City. In September 2012, Zoom launched a beta version that could host conferences with up to 15 video participants.

What is Zoom's competitive advantage? ›

The company's competitive advantage is centered around the product's ease of use as well as high-quality audio/video output. Zoom makes money via subscription fees, hardware sales, advertising, as well as by investing into other startups. It operates on a freemium business model.

Is Zoom any good? ›

Zoom is best for video conferencing, offering HD video, large meeting spaces, and optimal cloud storage. Zoom offers an extensive all-in-one phone system solution, hardware, and a chat feature that help streamline your everyday communication processes.

Why Zoom calls are so draining for introverts? ›

“A part of what makes you exhausted is that the natural cadence of conversation has changed. You don't have the usual cues, so you have to overcompensate for that.” “The social pressure of Zoom calls is real.” “As introverts, we need some time to decompress.

Why do Zoom calls drain your energy? ›

Video calls require more mental processing than face-to-face interactions. We have to work harder to process non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice and body language. This additional focus is very energy intensive and could explain this feeling of fatigue.

Why do virtual meetings feel so weird? ›

QUICK TAKE. Remote work is challenging because the nuances of nonverbal communication that are present in face-to-face conversations are not conveyed through virtual meetings.

What causes fatigue? ›

Most of the time fatigue can be traced to one or more of your habits or routines, particularly lack of exercise. It's also commonly related to depression. On occasion, fatigue is a symptom of other underlying conditions that require medical treatment.

How does Zoom affect students? ›

However, the worst part of attending virtual classes is the Zoom fatigue. Zoom fatigue, according to Psychiatric Times, is the feeling of burnout and tiredness linked to using video calls. Symptoms of Zoom fatigue include difficulty concentrating, fatigue and muscle tension, according to Healthline.

What does Zoom do to the brain? ›

During the meeting block with no breaks, people showed higher levels of beta waves, which are associated with stress, anxiety and concentration. There were higher peaks and a higher average stress level, plus it increased slowly as time went on.

Why do I get tired talking on the phone? ›

The muscles around the ribs (intercostals) and abdomen expand and contract to provide breath for speaking. Loud or excessive talking may make these muscles tire. Some people then fall into the unhealthy habit of overusing muscles of the neck to “push” the voice.

What are 4 symptoms of fatigue? ›

Symptoms of fatigue
  • chronic tiredness or sleepiness.
  • headache.
  • dizziness.
  • sore or aching muscles.
  • muscle weakness.
  • slowed reflexes and responses.
  • impaired decision-making and judgement.
  • moodiness, such as irritability.

What are 3 types of fatigue? ›

There are three types of fatigue: transient, cumulative, and circadian: Transient fatigue is acute fatigue brought on by extreme sleep restriction or extended hours awake within 1 or 2 days.

How can I improve fatigue? ›

Self-help tips to fight tiredness
  1. Eat often to beat tiredness. ...
  2. Get moving. ...
  3. Lose weight to gain energy. ...
  4. Sleep well. ...
  5. Reduce stress to boost energy. ...
  6. Talking therapy beats fatigue. ...
  7. Cut out caffeine. ...
  8. Drink less alcohol.

How do you combat fatigue in a virtual meeting? ›

Because of that, try switching communication apps, having one dedicated to work meetings and another dedicated to social meetings. For example, maybe your team conducts video conferencing via GoToMeeting but does virtual team building via Zoom. This separates work and play, which can help reduce meeting fatigue.

What are negative impacts of Zoom? ›

Intensive sitting on Zoom meetings in front of a screen or laptop and phone screens can result in pain in the eyes, exhaustion, blurry vision, fatigue, headache, dry eyes, and other neurological problems and eyestrain. Zoom fatigue is real!

Why is learning so exhausting? ›

The more we use our brains, the more energy is used. This low blood glucose level makes you feel extremely exhausted after long hours of studying.

Who is most likely to report high levels of Zoom fatigue? ›

In a recent working paper, involving an online survey of more than 10,500 people, they reported that Zoom fatigue is real and that women are more susceptible to it than men, and they identified several factors that explained that difference.

Why does Zoom give me a headache? ›

Our eyes simply were not designed to stare at screens all day everyday, and doing so can lead to unpleasant symptoms including: Headaches and migraines. Eye irritation and pain. Blurred and double vision.

Who coined the term Zoom fatigue? ›

Eric Yuan, 51, who founded Zoom when his idea for the videoconferencing platform was rejected by Silicon Valley giant Cisco, said that he had been suffering from “fatigue” after too many meetings while working at home.

What do you say to someone who is emotionally tired? ›

24 Supportive Texts To Send Someone Struggling With Burnout
  • It's OK to take a break! ...
  • Is there anything I can do to support you? ...
  • You have a lot on your plate right now and have been working so hard. ...
  • What have you done for yourself today? ...
  • Here if you want to talk through anything or just need to vent!
20 Oct 2020

What is mental exhaustion? ›

What Is Mental Exhaustion? 1/15. It's kind of like physical tiredness, except it's your mind instead of your muscles. It tends to show up when you focus on a mentally tough task for a while. You might also feel this kind of brain drain if you're always on alert or stressed out.

Why do introverts get tired after socializing? ›

But simply put, introverts just aren't as interested in pursuing the things that extroverts chase. Having a less active dopamine reward system also means that introverts may find certain levels of stimulation — like noise and activity — to be punishing and tiring.

Videos

1. Zoom Fatigue and Other Symptoms of Pandemic Teaching | TAPP 73
(The A&P Professor)
2. How To Overcome Zoom Fatigue!
(Anastasia Turchetta)
3. How to Manage Your Energy When You Have Chronic Fatigue Symptoms
(Cassie Winter)
4. Coping with leukaemia and fatigue webinar
(Leukaemia Care)
5. Brownbag Session: Avoiding Zoom Fatigue
(College of Saint Rose Online Learning Services)
6. Coping with Compassion Fatigue
(Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference)

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