Work from home: Experts explain why Zoom calls drain you out

And what you can do to cope with it.

Guan Zhen Tan | May 24, 2020, 02:38 PM

Teleconferencing has become the new normal.

However, many of us are feeling fatigued having to carry out numerous Zoom calls — or video calls on any other platform for that matter — in our personal and professional life.

Hard to feel at ease

Two experts — Gianpiero Petriglieri, an associate professor at Insead and Marissa Shuffler, an associate professor at Clemson University — have found several possible reasons why we feel this way.

Speaking to BBC, Petriglieri mentioned that unlike face-to-face interactions, video calls need us to focus more, and work harder to process non-verbal cues.

It's harder to relax as such; silence makes us anxious that there's a problem with our devices or computers, and unintentional delays may come across as being unfriendly.

Video calls heightens our self-consciousness as feel that we are being watched by everyone, which exerts pressure on us to "perform", or feel conscious about how we look or behave.

Carleton College has summed up the reasons into nifty graphics, which you can view here:

Image via Carleton SWAs' Facebook post

Image via Carleton SWAs' Facebook post

Image via Carleton SWAs' Facebook post

Image via Carleton SWAs' Facebook post

Image via Carleton SWAs' Facebook post

Image via Carleton SWAs' Facebook post

Image via Carleton SWAs' Facebook post

We aren't supposed to be here

While technology can bridge the distance, it can also remind us of why we are so distant in the first place.

The calls remind us that our normal lives have been disrupted during this pandemic, and we have lost our spaces temporarily, such as the classrooms and the office.

Furthermore, these calls also remind us that parts of our lives that used to be so separate from each other are now happening all at one place, rendering us vulnerable to certain negative feelings that arise from this situation.

These contribute to feelings that large group calls, even if it's just for fun, feel just like an obligation, Shuffler notes.

It doesn't quite help that we have to carry out video calls for work as well on these very same platforms.

As such, a call with your friends may very well feel just as draining as a call with your colleagues.

What can we do?

Despite our limited options, there are things you can do to reduce your Zoom fatigue, such as limiting video call where possible.

Opting for alternatives such as sharing files with concise notes is one such better option, Shuffler notes.

Take frequent breaks between calls, using the time to stretch, exercise or have a drink will also allow yourself to better cope with the fatigue.

You could also spend time checking on your colleagues' and friends' wellbeing at the beginning of meetings, which could be a way to reconnect with them beyond the contents of the call.

Top image via Pixabay