Zoom fatigue is a phenomenon that surfaced during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic. If remote working is to become the “new normal,” companies need to find solutions that helps employees stay alert and focused.
The principal cause of zoom fatigue is the amount of cognitive energy that is expended when consistently using virtual platforms expands. Video calls require more focus and there are fewer opportunities to give your brain a breather.
In addition, attendees are constantly in a sedentary position staring into a screen intently trying to absorb information. Teleconferencing is even more draining if there is a bad connection and you have to listen harder to what is being said.
Audio has been proposed as a leading cause of zoom fatigue. Verbal communication in a virtual environment can be confusing when there are multiple participants and the millisecond delay is confusing for the brain to comprehend sound with body language.
“Individual voices are separated by distance and appear at specific points around the meeting table. This spatial presentation makes it fairly easy and natural for us to identify and decipher who is speaking. However, when it comes to virtual voices – regardless of the number of participants on a call – all the voices come from the same loudspeaker and at the same distance from the listener. This artificial soundscape creates a muddied, unclear and unnatural listening experience.” ~ Forbes
There are, of course, other distractions. Employees that are not directly involved in meetings are browsing the internet and may even have one eye on their work. Meetings can hamper productivity.
Employees that don’t have a private space at home, will also be distracted by other members of the household. It’s not unusual for cats to suddenly appear on the desk, dogs to bark or children to run enthusiastically through the living room during a mad half-hour.