Zoom Fatigue Is Killing Communication With Your Team

Video meetings are not a new fad. 

It has been hanging around for a long time, and people at workplaces have been using videos to communicate and collaborate with their teammates. Moreover, the pandemic has seemed to have worked in favour of video meetings, making it the poster boy for daily communication. 

With so many teams working remotely, video conferencing tools have become like a saving grace for them to collaborate and exchange ideas. Amidst all of this, one tool that has been basking in the limelight is Zoom. This tool has become synonymous with video conferencing. To give you a quick perspective, here’s a link to the Google search trends data, comparing the search volume for “Zoom meeting,” and “video conferencing” for the last two years.

Zoom is like the magic portal for teams who transpose to the work from home environment in a very short span of time. However, there is also a grim side to this story. The over indulgence in video calls and meetings has started taking a toll at the mental health of the employees. Many employees have expressed distress, and lack of attention at work due to the higher count of video calls. 

All of this has culminated in a phenomenon which is popularly known as “Zoom fatigue.” National Geographic covered this topic in detail, layering out different reasons for this problem to occur. In this blog, we will be focusing on how Zoom fatigue has the potential to impact your office communication in a detrimental way. 

So, here are the top reasons why you should take a serious note on the number of video meetings that you’re putting your team through – 

Less attention

Zoom calls are an example of synchronous communication. This term translates to, communication done on an instant basis. With online meetings, you don’t get that time space where you can gather your thoughts, and present it at your own pace. It’s live, and along with listening, you have to be talking, and shifting your attention between multiple speakers if it’s a group call. All of this together makes conversations taxing, and mentally draining for the employees.

If your office communication largely consists of video calls, then start keeping a check on your employees’ mental health. Are they participating in video calls? Or are they getting nervous? If it’s the latter, then you need to act fast. One of the best ways by which you can limit the number of video calls is by using asynchronous communication tools. This mode of communication will help you have better participation from employees as it gives them more time to think about ideas.

Appearance concerns

There are two sides to this problem. One, in a video meeting looking at your own face, can be a major distraction. This becomes very tough when you’re sharing a feedback or giving a review on someone’s work. The strange part here is that if you have something critical to say, looking at your own facial expressions can concern you which will break your chain of thoughts eventually. 

Two, you’re more conscious about what others are thinking about your looks. At the back of your mind, new thoughts develop about what others think of your appearance in a video call. This feeling is not present when you’re talking in a physical workspace. The reason being it’s more personal in nature, and if you have something disheartening to say, you can pat on their back or shake their hand to uplift their confidence. This is impossible in a video meeting.  

The best way to get away from this problem is to stop looking at your face. If you’re still finding it difficult to do this, then you can switch off your webcam especially when you have something serious to share with your team. Alternatively, you can use a screen recording tool to share your feedback. This way your team can watch it offline, you will get more time to construct your thoughts, and your team can easily digest the information.

No non-verbal communication

Most of the experts agree that 70-93% of the communication is non-verbal in nature. Imagine taking all of it out, you’re left with roughly 30%. This is all that you have to share your ideas, suggestions and everything that comes to your mind in a Zoom meeting. Non-verbal gestures come naturally when you speak, and they help you to explain a point. In a video meeting, interpreting gestures becomes tricky as most of it is exhibited by your facial expressions. On top of that, if your face is not within the frame or the background is distracting, then your non-verbal cues will be more bemusing than helpful.

A bit of proficiency in handling the camera distance from your face will help you to limit this problem. Before you start the meeting, keep your laptop at a distance in a way that other participants can see your face along with the torso. So, if you use your hands a lot while talking, this positioning will help you to send them signals. Besides, there are a few other factors which you can practice boosting your overall presence. We found this article useful, and we hope it makes a difference in your online meetings.

Final word

With the current ongoing pandemic, there is no way we can strip Zoom meetings from our daily communication tools list. Having said that, too much dependence on it can become a mental stress for you, and your team. Most of us are not attuned to remote working, and Zoom fatigue will make it even worse. Before, you decide to close this window or move to the next one, let’s reiterate on why Zoom fatigue will kill your communication – 

  • Your staff is less attentive as they’re under the constant pressure of being observed, and they have to switch their attention between multiple speakers
  • Your face is more exposed in virtual meetings. Naturally, this tempts you to look at your face, and think about what others are thinking about you. This will make you slip out of conversations, and keep the agenda haphazard.
  • Your gestures send vital non-verbal messages to your team members. However, in your video call they are very limited which means you will have a hard time in convincing them, and it will be challenging for them to accept your ideas.