What is Zoom fatigue?

Zoom fatigue is the tiredness people experience following excessive work-related video conferencing. Zoom fatigue emerged during the upsurge in Zoom usage following the COVID-19 social distancing protocols. Zoom fatigue isn’t an official medical term. But, it’s real and causes people to feel:

  • Drained of strength and energy
  • Reduced concentration and mindfulness 
  • Stress, anxiety, loneliness, or depression 
  • Burnout

Why should HR leaders care about Zoom fatigue?

Without a doubt, Zoom offers a convenient manner of communication, allowing individuals to meet online with co-workers while working from home. Yet, video conferencing can hinder fundamental forms of human interaction, such as body language and eye contact. On Zoom, people must cope with various unnatural and uncomfortable factors, including

  • Maintaining eye contact through the screen 
  • Watching oneself on camera
  • Being filmed 
  • Using exaggerated facial expressions and body language
  • Communicating with others while only seeing their faces

Because Zoom has become an integral component of work communication systems, HR leaders must be aware of the downsides of Zoom overload, and that it can interfere with employee engagement, motivation, and productivity.

What can HR leaders do to avoid Zoom fatigue?

Here are three ways HR leaders can reduce or eliminate the Zoom fatigue epidemic:

  • Establish a protocol. The protocol can include an explanation of the company’s approach to Zoom etiquette and limits for the length and frequency of the meetings. Perhaps HR leaders could designate two days a week for Zoom calls or limit Zoom meetings to 30 minutes. HR leaders could also include tips to encourage more comfortable Zoom usage, such as: using an external keyboard. This enables people to sit farther from the screen, minimizing the Zoom call from its full-screen setting, or choosing the “Hide Myself” option, so people don’t have to watch themselves on camera. 
  • Integrate a hybrid work style. For people who’ve been working solely from home, a hybrid workstyle offers the benefits of working from home and the office. Within the hybrid work model, teams rotate working in the office and working from home. This option lets people working on-site participate in in-person meetings, reducing reliance on Zoom and restoring natural human interactions.
  • Emphasize the importance of time off. To work hard, people need time to rejuvenate. Show that the company values self-care, breaks, vacations, and employee wellbeing, just as it values hard work, dedication, and high-performance work. Giving people the freedom to jump off the hamster wheel of work for a respite during the day can contribute to their mental and physical health.

Why should preventing Zoom fatigue be a part of modern HR strategy?

Zoom fatigue can negatively affect people’s wellbeing. HR leaders can help their people avoid Zoom fatigue and maintain engagement, productivity, and high-performance work by incorporating a calculated, practical approach.