Stanford researchers identify four causes for ‘Zoom fatigue’ and their simple fixes


Prompted by the recent boom in videoconferencing, communication Professor Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL), examined the psychological consequences of spending hours per day on these platforms. Just as “Googling” is something akin to any web search, the term “Zooming” has become ubiquitous and a generic verb to replace videoconferencing. Virtual meetings have skyrocketed, with hundreds of millions happening daily, as social distancing protocols have kept people apart physically. He has identified four consequences of prolonged video chats that he says contribute to the feeling commonly known as “Zoom fatigue.” 1) Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense. 2)Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing. 3)Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility. 4)The cognitive load is much higher in video chats. The Stanford team responded by devising the Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale, or ZEF Scale, to help measure how much fatigue people are experiencing in the workplace from videoconferencing. Results from the scale can help change the technology so the stressors are reduced.

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