Video Meeting Fatigue 101: What causes it and how can you overcome it?

March 31, 2021 | Rohit Prasad

‘Video meeting fatigue’ is a real thing. It’s no secret that video-based communication has played a huge role in driving business outcomes in the COVID-19 environment. The use of apps and browser-based platforms has skyrocketed and many of us are now religious advocates of jumping on a video call to information share or catch up. But If you’re feeling more tired than usual come the end of your workday, it’s probably not the workout you tried to squeeze in at the start of your day. It’s something called video meeting fatigue or ‘Zoom fatigue’ as it has been coined in the last few weeks and months. Mentions of “Zoom fatigue” have appeared more and more on social media, in searches on the web and you have likely thought about it on video calls you’ve had recently. Video meetings are a great asset, but when you are having so many across the duration of a working day, it can have a significant impact on you causing burnout. 


Exploring the Cause of Video Meeting Fatigue

The answer is that video conferencing interactions increase the cognitive demands placed on your brain when compared to normal face-to-face interactions. With face to face meetings between people, non-verbal communication is processed entirely unconsciously in a way that is natural to us. However, when on a video call, we are forced to be more attentive to pick up non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and gestures. Pair that with having to focus your gaze at the camera constantly while ensuring your head remains centred and in the shot, this all increases our cognitive load which leads to consuming lots of energy. Now think about those calls you are joining with multiple participants with lots of video streams to focus on, several times a day, processing to that point would mean your brain becomes pretty fatigued. 


How to Overcome Video Meeting Fatigue

The simple solution is to not use your webcam all the time. You don’t need to show your face on every call. While many companies may like to encourage turning cameras on, perhaps you could agree that you only turn your camera on when you are talking for example. It might be worthwhile to change alternate your meetings and have some without the addition of video from time to time to minimise the impact of video meeting fatigue.

A great hack is to take short breaks while participating via video, this could mean simply minimising your browser window or moving it behind other application windows you have open and then returning to it after 15-30 seconds. Even looking away from your screen in bursts to give yourself a mental break could be helpful. As for between calls, if you’re guilty of scheduling and attending back to back video calls across your day, try to consciously take a break between those calls to do something else. This will help avoid repeated exposure to stimuli that incites video meeting fatigue.

A potential way to minimise video meeting fatigue is to mix up the way you are communicating with team members or clients Try to keep video meetings for some interactions but be firm on saying when you want to communicate in another way. Utilise email or chat messaging platforms like Slack to disperse information and incite conversation, you will find over time you are not feeling as fatigued because the number of video meetings in your calendar has dropped as a consequence of more interactions happening via other communication channels.


Could there be benefits in reverting to traditional audio meetings or VOIP-based calls for a while?

Video conferencing may be so taxing that you’re thinking about returning to audio-only interactions for a while, either via traditional telephony or VoIP. You may be on to something with that decision. There are many benefits of switching to audio-only calls for a while to reduce the impact of video meeting fatigue. Let’s recap some of the benefits of adding audio-only calls to your calendar. Firstly, they offer added flexibility in that you can join in on a conversation from anywhere on the go without having to be at your computer or laptop staring at several faces and picking up on visual stimuli in the background. Second, it may allow you to focus less on the small details that come with video meetings because you just have to jump on an audio call and focus on talking, which can be great when you want to get up move around and think for example. Plus, with audio calls, you don’t have to worry about how you present yourself (Lockdown hairstyles can stay hidden for a while until you can visit the barbers or a hair salon).


If your experiencing video meeting fatigue and your existing communication provision doesn’t support high-quality telephony and web-based audio calls, you should explore BablConnect today.