It happens, the unnecessary zoom, and it’s pretty frustrating.

when it should've been an email pic.twitter.com/C1eJFX8tyTFebruary 4, 2021

It’s frustrating because you can’t help but lament the sheer volume of time wasted, and not just your own, but everyone else who was pulled into the meeting with you.

It’s absolutely the worst when it’s your fault and you realize it.

The problem is that a lot of meetings turn out to be productive. Productive meetings are magnificent. You get something akin to a high from cruising through an agenda, connecting with fellow humans, solving problems, synergizing, driving outcomes, etc. It’s an endorphin hit. It's serotonin. Magic!

spongebob magic
SpongeBob Magic Gif

But useless, unnecessary, video meetings suck.

Turns out, Zoom fatigue is a real thing

Additionally, not only are some of these meetings entirely useless, they're also more likely to take a toll on you compared to in-person meetings.

Recently there was a from Stanford regarding the causes of Zoom Fatigue in response to a peer reviewed article called Nonverbal overload: A theoretical argument for the causes of Zoom fatigue in the journal Technology, Mind, and Behavior.

It's a lot.

But these things definitely resonate. I can say for certain, as someone who spends a significant amount of time in meetings on camera.

They list four primary reasons for Zoom Fatigue:

  • Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense
  • Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing
  • Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility
  • The cognitive load is much higher in video chats

If you are also someone who has spent time video chatting, I'll bet that these will resonate with you as well.

The Stanford article does make a series of suggestions about how to mitigate these issues, and they seem like reasonable common sense suggestions:

Moving your camera away, giving yourself space, turning the camera off and facing away from the screen, hiding your self-view are all listed.

I intend to try some of these, and perhaps I'll remember to update here based on how successful it feels.

The Stanford article is a quick read, the TMB article is long but interesting.

Another solution to Zoom fatigue...

... is simply not having that meeting.

Because, again, sometimes it should simply be an email, a confluence page, or perhaps a Slack, maybe even a text message...

If you don't have a Zoom... you can't get Zoom Fatigue.