If you’re burnt out on ‘zooming,’ you’re not the only one. Many people are still working and studying from home nearly a full year since the pandemic was declared. Though many people are able to get along fine with just email and messaging services, others are required to stay in a video chat for their entire work shift or school session — and that, a new study says, has created an environment that many people have grown weary of.
A new study from Stanford University reports that there are four different reasons people are experiencing ‘zoom fatigue’ and that, thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce the issues. The study describes the causes as ‘design flaws’ with modern video chat software.
What happens when you spend multiple hours a day on video chats? You get tired. That’s according to the new peer-reviewed study, which comes from Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab’s founding director Professor Jeremy Bailenson, who explains why the technology has this effect.
One issue with these applications in their current form, the researcher explains, is the up-close and unnaturally large faces on the screen in front of us. With these video calls, ‘everyone is looking at everyone, all the time.’ Everyone sees multiple faces staring at them even when they’re not talking, and the faces may appear too close, increasing the intensity and resulting fatigue.
Likewise, having to constantly see yourself in the video software, the reduced mobility that comes with video calls, and the high ‘cognitive load’ associated with remote interfacing contribute to the tiredness associated with ‘zooming.’ There are possible solutions for these issues, though, and they’re fairly simple to implement.
For example, Bailenson suggests that people participating in a video chat should periodically take breaks from the software, including minimizing the screen so that you don’t perceive people still staring at you. Likewise, you may benefit from disabling the ‘self-view’ option in the software, meaning you won’t have to stare at yourself all day, and by moving your camera farther away so that you’re able to communicate with natural gestures during calls.