Why ‘video call fatigue’ might be making you tired during lockdown – and how to beat it

video calls

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Harry Kretchmer, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • Some video conferencing users are complaining of exhaustion after continual online meetings.
  • Alongside Skype, Houseparty and Microsoft Teams, virtual meetings platform Zoom has boomed during the pandemic, growing from 10 million daily meeting participants in December to more than 200 million in March.
  • Psychologists say “video call fatigue” could be due to factors including excessive self-awareness and over-scheduling.

Video conferencing software has been a runaway success during the coronavirus pandemic, topping download charts, becoming the lynchpin of business communication, and being hailed as the defining technology of the lockdown.

 

But a new phenomenon is emerging alongside this rise – “video call fatigue”.

It describes the feeling of being worn out by endless virtual meetings, chats and quizzes, borne witness to by widespread complaints on social media. And academics say the reasons behind it include having to perform for the camera and missing real people.

But wellness experts say video chats can have great benefits, too, helping people stay connected in isolation.

technology tech video lockdown call zoom skype ft facetime bored tired bothered Coronavirus china virus health healthcare who world health organization disease deaths pandemic epidemic worries concerns Health virus contagious contagion viruses diseases disease lab laboratory doctor health dr nurse medical medicine drugs vaccines vaccinations inoculations technology testing test medicinal biotechnology biotech biology chemistry physics microscope research influenza flu cold common cold bug risk symptomes respiratory china iran italy europe asia america south america north washing hands wash hands coughs sneezes spread spreading precaution precautions health warning covid 19 cov SARS 2019ncov wuhan sarscow wuhanpneumonia  pneumonia outbreak patients unhealthy fatality mortality elderly old elder age serious death deathly deadly
The popularity of Zoom has soared during the coronavirus pandemic.
Image: Prioridata/Statista

Mental overload

So why are some people finding video conferencing so tiring?

Psychologist Dr Linda Kaye from the UK’s Edge Hill University says in large part it is because we see ourselves on screen, and naturally want to present a good image to friends and colleagues.

“It’s likely that this is enhancing our self-awareness to a greater level than usual, and therefore resulting in us making additional self-presentational efforts than in face-to-face interactions in the real world,” she explains.

“And then, of course, it could simply be a volume issue. We may be over-scheduling ourselves simply based on the fact we have more time available.”

Gianpiero Petriglieri, an expert on workplace learning at INSEAD business school, tells the BBC that another key factor is the extra effort needed to process non-verbal cues such as body language.

“Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally.”

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

A new strain of Coronavirus, COVID 19, is spreading around the world, causing deaths and major disruption to the global economy.

Responding to this crisis requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

The Forum has created the COVID Action Platform, a global platform to convene the business community for collective action, protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate business continuity, and mobilize support for the COVID-19 response. The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

Ill at ease

Another factor explored by researchers at University College London is gaze duration. While people are happy to stare at people they feel comfortable with for longer periods, gazes of more than 3 seconds can feel uncomfortable in less relaxed situations.

The BBC cites a German study published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies that finds speech transmission delays of little over a second can cause participants to perceive those on the video call as “less attentive, extraverted and conscientious”.

There is also the problem, Gianpiero Petriglieri explains, of “self-complexity”. In simple terms, human beings like variety, but now many aspects of our lives are coming together in one place – video calls.

technology tech video lockdown call zoom skype ft facetime bored tired bothered Coronavirus china virus health healthcare who world health organization disease deaths pandemic epidemic worries concerns Health virus contagious contagion viruses diseases disease lab laboratory doctor health dr nurse medical medicine drugs vaccines vaccinations inoculations technology testing test medicinal biotechnology biotech biology chemistry physics microscope research influenza flu cold common cold bug risk symptomes respiratory china iran italy europe asia america south america north washing hands wash hands coughs sneezes spread spreading precaution precautions health warning covid 19 cov SARS 2019ncov wuhan sarscow wuhanpneumonia  pneumonia outbreak patients unhealthy fatality mortality elderly old elder age serious death deathly deadly
Coronavirus has been tough for many Americans.
Image: Gallup

The bigger picture

The growing frustration with video conferencing may also be related to the wider well-being challenge the lockdown is posing.

A recent survey by US pollster Gallup found almost 60% of Americans feel worried – up 20% on last summer – while 45% told the Kaiser Family Foundation the coronavirus crisis was harming their mental health.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to reduce video chat fatigue.

  • Build in breaks
  • Keep meetings shorter
  • Reduce on-screen stimuli – try hiding yourself from view.
  • Don’t feel you have to attend virtual social gatherings with colleagues.
  • Switch to a phone call or email if appropriate.

The benefits of face-to-face

But many are singing the praises of video chats.

Yale Professor Laurie Santos – whose popular lessons on wellness have made her an influential voice on mental health issues during the pandemic – says face-to-face communication can help with lockdown isolation.

“The research suggests that the act of hanging out with folks in real time – in other words, things like Zoom or FaceTime – can be a really powerful way to connect with people.

“You see their facial expressions, hear the emotion in their voice, you’re really able to connect with them.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

European Solidarity Corps: three years on

Fisheries: Commission proposes measures to conserve stocks of deep-sea species in the North-East Atlantic

The vehicles of our future

DPRK reports ‘little progress’ since historic June 2018 summit with US

Can we put a price on clean air? Yes, we can

4 ways the way we make things can change for a sustainable world

To achieve the Great Reset, we will need more than just the actions of the powerful

UN human rights chief denounces grave ‘assaults’ on fundamental rights of Palestinian people

Vegetarianism is good for the economy too

China’s Ambassador to the EU Zhang Ming wishes to Brussels a Happy 2019 Year of the Pig

Draghi: A bridge from Brussels to Berlin

Fostering intergenerational solidarity and cooperation through age-friendly environments: the right answer to Europe’s demographic challenge

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

Healthcare’s a human right, not ‘a privilege for the rich’ UNAIDS argues at Davos

Celebrating the Customs Union: the world’s largest trading bloc turns 50

A woman would have to be born in the year 2255 to get equal pay at work

UN rights chief ‘alarmed’ by upsurge in attacks against civilians in Syria’s Idlib

No way out for Eurozone’s stagnating economy

Refugees in Greece: MEPs demand solidarity, warn about impact of health crisis

Is Britain to sail alone in the high seas of trade wars?

“Move fast, build to last: Europe’s new generation” – op-ed by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Guterres underscores UN role in achieving a free, secure Internet

Technological innovation can bolster trust and security at international borders. Here’s how

Why Eurozone urgently needs the ECB to print and distribute at least €500 billion

EU opens a third antitrust file against Google

EU Copyright Directive: Google News threatens to leave Europe while media startups increasingly worry

Why strive for Industry 4.0

The EU can afford to invest trillions in support of employment

FROM THE FIELD: What do you want to be when you grow up? One day I will…

Importance of Mental Health and keeping it together in a Pandemic 

The scary EU elections result and the delayed Council’s repentance

Who is responsible for public health? The tendencies and its benefits –or not– on Health Education around the world

Social Committee teaches Van Rompuy a lesson

Can the US-Iran rapprochement change the world?

Women still struggle to find a job, let alone reach the top: new UN report calls for ‘quantum leap’

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: sexual violence in conflict, a malaria vaccine trial, updates on Libya, Ebola in DR Congo, Sri Lanka and Mali

Japan to invest in euro values

Central Mali: Top UN genocide prevention official sounds alarm over recent ethnically-targeted killings

EU finally agreed to cut roaming charges in 2017 but criticism is always there

New EU rules to thwart money laundering and terrorist financing

Merkel: Nationalism and egoism must never have a chance again in Europe

Charles Michel advocates a strong Europe that acts where it can add real value

How technology can help us achieve universal healthcare

OECD sees global growth slowing, as Europe weakens and risks persist

This is what happened to CO2 emissions in the EU last year

EP supports local authorities fighting the effects of the pandemic

Bilbao’s city parks offer brain-training games for the elderly

Coronavirus: Pandemic alert should be trigger for countries to do more against COVID-19

A Sting Exclusive: “Delivering on the Environmental Dimension of the new Sustainable Development Agenda”, Ulf Björnholm underscores from UNEP Brussels

10 ways regulators need to change in 2020

Three of the world’s hardest-hit nations are preparing to end their lockdowns

UN condemns attack on Ebola treatment centre in DR Congo which left doctor dead, two others injured

How one change to shipping goods could change the way we live

European Commission adopts rules to ensure a smooth transition to its next President and the next College of Commissioners

These technologies are playing a major role at the Cricket World Cup

Trump’s Pandemic Failure: A Missed Opportunity

EU summit compromise: positive step for recovery, inadequate in the long-term

Fighting for minds of youth in Latvia

A healthy human future depends on healthy oceans. Here’s why

US-China trade war at point of no return: Washington’s demands go beyond tariffs

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s