Coronavirus crisis

Zoom fatigue is real and it’s costly

The Zoom experiment failed. The fallout is erasing all the benefits of remote work, making everyone exhausted and unproductive. -- but there's a better way.

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Coronavirus crisis

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A viral pandemic swept the globe. More people started working from 58彩票平台. Everybody started using Zoom.

Wait, what? Why?

It turns out that using Zoom for all large meetings -- or even medium-size meetings -- is a terrible, horrible, counterproductive idea.

In theory, it's great. Everybody can see and hear colleagues at once and you can have "face to face" meetings while everyone is working from their 58彩票平台s.

[ Related: Videoconferencing vendors meet demands with free versions ]

In practice, Zoom fatigue, combined with the amount of time all these Zoom meetings takes, is doing more harm than good.

A viral pandemic swept the globe. More people started working from 58彩票平台. Everybody started using Zoom.

Wait, what? Why?

It turns out that using Zoom for all large meetings -- or even medium-size meetings -- is a terrible, horrible, counterproductive idea.

In theory, it's great. Everybody can see and hear colleagues at once and you can have "face to face" meetings while everyone is working from their 58彩票平台s.

[ Related: Videoconferencing vendors meet demands with free versions ]

In practice, Zoom fatigue, combined with the amount of time all these Zoom meetings takes, is doing more harm than good.

Zoom fatigue -- the feeling of being drained after Zoom meetings -- is caused by a wide range of technological and psychological factors:

  • During video calls, latency varies, so conversations can be halting and awkward, causing crosstalk. show that a delay makes others seems less friendly.
  • It may be stressful to see video of yourself while in a meeting.
  • The brain works overtime to make sense of video and audio that's out of sync
  • Subconsciously, the brain perceives that everyone is looking at you. It's like a meeting where everyone looks at you, even when other people are talking.
  • Video creates close to eye contact, but not actual eye contact, which can be anxiety-provoking.
  • Seeing many faces at once causes mental overload, because the brain devotes a huge amount of "processing power" to quickly recognize, read and watch a human face, and switching between dozens of faces for several hours a day is massively taxing on the brain.
  • that people focus less on content and more on whether they like a person, when they interact over video.
  • People tend to be less over video.
  • People feel pressure to keep eyes glued to the screen, instead of checking or writing notes and doing other natural things for processing information.

Zoom fatigue is real.

[ Related: , which lets you create an avatar of yourself, which represents you in video conferences. It conveys your facial expressions in real time, but keeps looking at the "camera" while you get coffee and read your notes. LoomieLive works on Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, Webex, and Microsoft Teams.

There's also evidence that Apple may embrace avatars for video conferencing. Apple's WWDC announcement advertises their June 22 virtual conference by showing three Memoji characters sitting in front of MacBook laptops. Memoji's are the branded avatars that Apple users currently enjoy via Apple Messages.

Normally this would mean nothing. But Apple has a reputation for advertising conferences with cryptic but meaningful symbolism. It would be uncharacteristic of Apple to show Memoji in front of laptops unless they were set to announce support for some version of that scenario.

It seems reasonable to predict that Apple will announce the following:

  1. Face ID for laptops (which could control avatars)
  2. Memoji support on laptops; and -- given the Zoom craze
  3. Multi-user meetings that support Memoji

Apple, which is known to be working on augmented reality glasses, has patents that enable 3D avatars to sit around a virtual conference table. People can meet and speak to each other's avatars, all while making "eye contact." They call it a bionic virtual meeting room."

Even Facebook is getting into the act. Facebook is rolling out cartoonish avatars for US users to use in Messenger and in Stories. (They were previously available in the other English speaking countries and Europe.) I think it's only a matter of time before they add these to group messaging video conferencing.

The big picture is that Zoom overuse isn't working. Zoom fatigue is killing productivity. It's a good idea to recognize this at your organization and lead the charge against Zoom overuse. While people are working remotely, favor email, phone calls or avatar-based video calls. Keep all meetings to a minimum.

Let's all stop feeding the Zoom beast and get back to work.