How to avoid video call and conferencing fatigue

27th July, 2020

By Brad Shannon


How to avoid video call and conferencing fatigue

For many of us, working from home during COVID-19 has meant we are spending a lot of time on video meeting applications like Zoom, Webex, Teams and Skype. The effects of this have taken us by surprise.

Meeting online increases our cognitive load and having giant heads staring at us up close for long periods can be off-putting for a lot of us! Staring at our own face as well, the thought of the kids walking in, partner walking past naked only increases our anxieties towards virtual meetings! But, it’s not all bad…

Even though the increased focus on verbal information in video meetings can be mentally more draining, it might also have some potential positive side effects by reducing biases due to social and emotional signals. For instance, certain physical factors, such as height, are linked to social dominance.

These factors are less apparent in video meetings, which could lead to increased emphasis on the merits of arguments.

How can we reduce video calling and video conferencing fatigue?

Below are 5 tips collated from a range of experts to help reduce the negative effects of online video calls and meetings…

1. Avoid multitasking
It’s easy to think that you can use the opportunity to do more in less time, but research shows that trying to do multiple things at once cuts into performance.
Although it’s tempting, try to remind yourself that the instant message, chat message you just received can wait 15 minutes, and that you’ll be able to provide a better response when you’re not also on a video chat!

2. Does the meeting need to happen?
Consider whether the meeting needs to happen. In some cases, shared document platforms with detailed comments can reduce the need to meet.

3. Hide yourself
Research shows that when you’re on video, you tend to spend the most time gazing at your own face.
This can be easily avoided by hiding yourself from view.

4. Use plain backgrounds
Encourage people to use plain backgrounds (e.g. a poster of a peaceful beach scene) to help reduce mental fatigue.

5. Limit the number of video calls and video meetings
Limiting the number of video calls and video meetings in a day can assist, as well.
Sometimes, the phone is better. On the phone, we only have to concentrate on one voice and can walk around which can help thinking.

These tips might be hard to follow at first. But taking these steps can help you prevent feeling so exhausted at the thought of another video chat.

It’s tiring enough trying to adapt to this new normal.

Happy video calling and stay well.