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Why Zoom Meetings Can Wipe You Out – Mercury News




The COVID-19 pandemic has moved our lives into virtual space. Why are you so tired?

Fatigue doesn’t make money. We don’t fly planes, teach toddlers, or rescue people trapped in burning buildings. Still, by the end of the day, the sensations are so universal that they have been given their own name, Zoom Fatigue.

Stanford University Professor Jeremy Bayrenson, Founding Director Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab, There are several answers.In a study published in the journal on Tuesday Technology, mind, behavior, He describes the psychological consequences of spending hours every day on Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, or other video calling interfaces. This is the first peer-reviewed article to analyze zoom fatigue from a psychological point of view.

According to Bailenson, there are four main reasons why video chat makes us so tired. And he suggests some simple fixes.

Too close and not comfortable

Think of a regular meeting. You may be looking at the speakers. Alternatively, you may be aware of those flashy new blinds, a colleague’s weekend tan, or the traffic on the street below.

But with Zoom calls, everyone is always looking at everyone. And our face can look too big.

If so many faces in real life are very close to ours, our subconscious mind takes it personally. It tells us: they either choose to fight or choose their companions. “In effect, what’s happening when you’ve been using Zoom for hours is that you’re in this very excited state,” says Bailenson.

Solution: Exit the full screen option and reduce the size of your face. Use an external keyboard to create a comfortable space between yourself and the masses.

We really hate seeing ourselves

For most of us, that early morning glimpse in the mirror is all we really need. After hours of self-gaze, we become critical. I noticed a sloppy shaving job. Overdue haircut. Dead plants on our left shoulder. Or maybe all the light is wrong and casts a deep shadow. We look like members of the Witness Protection Program.

“It puts a strain on us. It’s stressful,” said Byrenson. “Looking at yourself in the mirror has negative emotional consequences.”

Solution: Once the face is properly framed in the video, use the “Hide Self View” button that you can access by right-clicking on your photo.

We are trapped in a chair

Humans are restless creatures. During the phone call, we like to walk around. Even if you’re stuck in a meeting at a conference table, find a way to stretch, such as leaning on a chair or staring at the ceiling. However, video conferencing is limited by the narrow field of view of the camera.

This is physically and mentally fatal. “There’s more research showing that when people are moving, they’re doing better cognitive abilities,” Birenson said.

Solution: You can use an external camera away from the screen to scribble, loosen your neck, twist while sitting, or fidget, just as you would in a real meeting. Turning off video regularly during a meeting is a good basic rule for setting up a group and creates a short non-verbal rest.

You need more energy to communicate because you can’t see your body language

At its best, the conference can behave like a subtle symphony, harmonizing everyone’s attitude, laughter, and glance. We read each other’s clues. There is a rhythm in the conversation.

Not so with zoom. Only one speaker at a time is rigid. You need to listen carefully to the completion of the sentence so as not to interrupt it. To make an important point, we need to add drama and flare.

“If you want to show that you agree with someone, you have to exaggerate or thumb up,” Bailenson said. “Because we use mental calories for communication, it adds a cognitive load.”

Solution: For long meetings, take a “voice only” break. Not only turn off the camera, but also move your body away from the screen. Look at the bird outside the wall or window where you need to paint. Maybe I even hang some clothes and wash some dishes.

Want to measure your own zoom fatigue? A large number of organizations, including schools, large corporations and government agencies, have contacted Stanford communications researchers to improve their video conferencing settings. That’s why the team devised the Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale (ZEF Scale) to measure workplace fatigue. The goal is to help change video technology, reducing stressors.

To participate in the survey and participate in the survey project, please visit the following URL:

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