Cal State Fullerton campus walkway.

Photo by Chris McCarthy

As the coronavirus pandemic is forcing millions of workers to telecommute and transformed students’ routines to distance learning, social scientists are warning of “zoom fatigue,” a form of exhaustion from excessive video chatting, as Zoom technology has become the go-to for meetings in this challenging time.

The Zoom medium creates stressors such as constantly seeing an image of yourself, an inability to read body language and a lack of live feedback.

How can you minimize Zoom fatigue in an age in which the video conferencing platform is often the only way to communicate?

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggests the following:

  • Avoid multitasking. It’s a lot harder to remember what you’ve gone over in your Zoom meeting or stay engaged as a participant if you are checking your email or doing other tasks.
  • Take breaks if you are meeting for a long time with friends, or in the case of professional meetings, try to space them out throughout the day. Turning off cameras for part of long calls while still being a participant with a microphone is also a great approach.
  • When possible, make meetings optional if you’re running them. It’s great to connect with people you know, but it might be too many meetings for some participants.
  • Believe it or not, Zoom isn’t the only way to connect with people these days. There is also email, phone calls (the old way, just voice), instant messaging, and possibly even modified face-to-face (through a window or staying many feet away in an open field and using a megaphone to hear each other. Well, that last option might not be practical, but there are a lot of options.)

You might also want to read our posts about zoom etiquette and virtual interview tips.