Video chat is helping us stay employed and connected, but at what cost?

Zoom has become the new communication channel of preference under the assumption that video can compensate for the absence of physical and social interaction.But, how come we have so many video calls a day to stay socially connected ,energized and engaged and yet we still feel mentally drained,exhausted and distracted ?

The answer: Zoom fatigue is real and here is why:

Zoom meetings are more demanding cognitively compared to face-to-face meetings. We need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, tone or pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these is energy taxing for our brains.

Distractions: Many can occur during video meetings.Being self-conscious about one’s appearance can be very distracting, due to the feeling that we are being closely observed or possibly judged. Which can be overwhelming. Background noises, extended silence, and being in a state of alert during your meeting so you don’t possibly get interrupted by a family member which can be unsettling.

High Frequency:Back to back video meetings are too taxing for your attentional system. People cannot focus on difficult cognitive tasks like critical thinking, creativity and decision making for extended periods of time.

Technology: Unreliable technology can be nerve-wracking. Some people randomly lose internet connection. Others are still in the process of catching up with features and learning new software. All these disrupt the flow and effectiveness of zoom meetings.

So here are a few recommendations to avoid taxing all your mental energy during these days:

1.Schedule breaks.

2. Choose “Speaker View”: Use the screen to view others rather than your own self-view.

3. Keep it small: fewer people may make social negotiations easier and less demanding than larger meetings.

4.Turn off the Video: Give yourself permission to turn off the video when possible.

5.Avoid Multitasking: Observe and resist the urge to multitask during your video call.

6. Stay flexible and patient. We are all still adjusting to this new normal. Mental rigidity won’t help.

And lastly, preserve your precious energy. Injecting your video meetings with your best energy is necessary to keep the engagement and effectiveness in any meeting flowing.

Not all meetings need to be discussed and processed on a video call or be video-based. 

Follow the “Four S Rule”: Keep your video meetings: Short, Small, Simple and Succinct.

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