Zoom fatigue: Do you recognize it?

You will not be surprised to learn that the sales of Zoom Video Communications, Inc. saw an increase of 370% between 2019 and 2020[1]. Since the start of the pandemic, video conferencing tools have become part of our daily life. It is not surprising that the phenomenon of zoom fatigue has appeared. The term describes the feeling of fatigue, anxiety or worry resulting from overuse of virtual platforms, such as Zoom.

Did you know that there is a scientific explanation that can explain Zoom fatigue? Dr. Andrew Franklin, assistant professor of cyber psychology at Norfolk State University in Virginia thinks people may be surprised by the psychological difficulty that video calls can cause since the medium appears to be ideal for a small, accessible screen and seems to present no obvious distractions[2]. He explains that fatigue comes from the fact that our attention is constantly divided. “We are engaged in many activities, but never completely devote ourselves to focusing on anything in particular,” says Franklin. Psychologists call this “continuous partial attention,” and this applies to both virtual and in-person environments[3].

The employee experience was completely transformed for those who found themselves working from home during the pandemic. How can we counter the harmful effects of Zoom fatigue and protect the employee experience of your team?

Acknowledge that it exists and name it

Be sure to provide breaks during long meetings and between video calls. Talk to your employees at your next team meeting about their experience. Create a plan or possible concrete actions to counter the effects. You could introduce the possibility of having a meeting per day without the camera or even eliminate videoconferencing meetings on Fridays.

Pick up the phone when the conversation does not require the camera

We have to remember this old habit of talking on the phone because it allows us to get up from our desks without looking at the screen for the duration of the call. Let’s take the time to move when we can!

Implement best practices

Use the option that puts the speaker in the foreground (“Speaker View”) and other participants more peripheral on the screen. It is more like sitting around a conference table and focusing our attention primarily on the speaker. Following a screen with numerous faces can be a challenge!

Zoom fatigue can have adverse effects on mental health. let us remember that too much of a good thing is like not enough. Let’s try to balance our use while creating a positive experience for our employees.

Need assistance to adopt the best practices? Iceberg Management’s consultants offer you their expertise on the platform of your choice!

ByCaroline Thomson, CRHA/CHRP – Human resources consultant

RH blog Editor – Iceberg Management  


[1] Business News (2021). Zoom sees more growth after ‘unprecedented’ 2020, BBC News. Récupéré le 21 mars 2021 de https://www.bbc.com/news/business-56247489

[2] Sklar, Julia (2020). “’Zoom fatigue’ is taxing the brain. Here’s why that happens.’’ Récupéré le 21 mars 2021 de https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/coronavirus-zoom-fatigue-is-taxing-the-brain-here-is-why-that-happens

[3]  Business News (2021). Zoom sees more growth after ‘unprecedented’ 2020, BBC News. Récupéré le 21 mars 2021 de https://www.bbc.com/news/business-56247489