What is Zoom fatigue?

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Zoom calls have been booming due to remote teams on the rise. Video chat has become the new go-to for many businesses to hold video meetings, but the platform has many faults that negatively affect its users’ mind and body. Whilst many of us work from home, we have used Zoom for what we think of as a positive replacement to face to face interaction. However, researchers have warned Zoom fatigue and how this video platform is causing ‘burnout’ for its users, resulting in exhaustion, lack of focus, and anxiety.

Many studies have been done into why video calls are exactly causing this fatigue, from audio delays to performance-pressure due to nonverbal cues. For this blog, we will explore three of the main factors associated with remote-working teams and how video calls can affect them during their virtual team meetings.

The reasons behind Zoom fatigue

Excessive eye-contact (constant gaze)

During video calls, people feel pressured and work harder to hold eye contact with other attendees. This uses a lot of energy, can cause anxiety and lack of focus due to overthinking. The World Health Organization found that 3.6%, or about 264 million individuals worldwide, have an anxiety disorder. The heavy load of pressure for nonverbal communication during video calls can be highly nerve-racking for many individuals. It can have knock-on effects on both users health and workflow whilst remote working.

Reduced flexibility 

Unlike a phone call, you are continually being watched during Zoom calls. Other audio-only platforms allow you to function as usual whilst communicating with others, such as grabbing a drink or multi-tasking on other tasks. The constant thought of being viewed can be very stressful, and tirelessly thinking about your body language and verbal cues. Although the option is to turn off your camera, many feel that this will come across as rude or as if you are not appropriately prepared for working.

Overload of communication

Many of us struggle with social cues, and when it comes to video calls over real-life situations, this is only enhanced. Communicating across video platforms is not something that we are all used to and can be even more difficult with performance-anxiety. Seeing your own facial expressions and movements whilst talking can cause insecurity amongst individuals and endlessly judging yourself. The placement of yourself in a box for you to see whilst communicating is not normal and can be very uncomfortable for both the speaker and listeners. 

How can we avoid endless video calls?

There are many alternative virtual communications platforms available for remote meetings. Not everything has to be video, although merely limiting the number of video calls a day can be useful and increase productivity. As a team leader, there should be an understanding of technologies that employees prefer using rather than presumptions. Many individuals will feel nervous about speaking of any issues off their own back, so opening up a discussion where they are prompted can create a safe space.

Orbital’s audio-only alternative

At Orbital, we have a non-invasive approach, meaning no webcams, and no Zoom fatigue. We want to ensure every one of our users feels comfortable using our platform and can communicate in a way that’s right for them. For this reason, we created an audio-only platform our users can make real, natural connections. Within our galaxies, we have created unlimited break-out areas all under one link. When using our distance-based audio feature, you can be having a 1-1 meeting in your office whilst your team is chatting in the chill out zone and others are collaborating on a project at the round-table. 

We have created endless collaborative features to make communicating tasks virtually easy and effective. With sticky notes, mind maps, whiteboarding, and unlimited screen sharing presenting ideas for feedback and working together virtually could not be more productive! Saving work in specific areas ready for meetings or just for your own benefit is also possible, with the ability to embed links, documents, radio stations, games and various productivity tools straight onto the galaxy canvas.

Are you interested in finding an engaging alternative to Zoom? If so, Orbital is your solution. We have created a secure, browser-based platform that is perfect for work teams, online parties, education or events. Join here to start building your virtual office and improve the psychological safety of your team.


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