WFH Zoom fatigue: how you’re exhausting people and don’t know it.

Last week Stanford published one of the first early-stage studies on the effects of videoconferencing over the past year. Studies show it takes more brain energy to be on video than in person due to nonverbal effort. You can read the details of the survey at the link at the end of the article. But, the big takeaway is that you’re tired, and you’re unintentionally wearing others out. 

Here are the two biggest offenders:

Scenario A

Your top middle manager is completing morning 1:1 video calls with her team. By mid-day, she’s joining both cross-team and end-of-day video calls with her manager/customers/project stakeholders. By early evening, she’s catching up on emails and spreadsheets to keep everything organized and ready for the next day’s calls. It’s 8 hours on video, holding 8x more eye contact and interpreting limited visual cues while seeing a constant mirror of themselves. Day after day, in addition to managing the rest of the WFH issues, fatigue has set in. She’s losing steam, performance dips, and the energy to be her best is gone. Now what? She can’t have LESS communication!

Scenario B

You’ve just scheduled a great prospective talent to meet with several longtime employees to see if a mutual fit exists for joining your company. Since you can’t do onsite interviews, having as many team members as possible get to meet her by video is best practice. Your support team has lined up:

  • Two senior leader videos
  • Three peer video calls
  • A wrap-up with you at the end

That’s a 6 hour day of interviews! That’s about the same amount of time as the typical onsite; however, those interviews happen without breaks or food, the ability to move out of frame, speaking 15% louder than average, and at a closer visual range. While the candidate enjoyed the conversations, by the end of the day, she wasn’t communicating with her typical enthusiasm and losing engagement. Both she and the company felt they “didn’t have a good connection.” Your team debrief gives you mixed feedback, and now you’re unsure whether she’s the suitable fit you thought she was. And she’s thinking the same!

 Don’t get me wrong: Zoom is incredible and a huge benefit to business productivity. However, these are new loads for our brains to handle. If we want the best out of others (and ourselves), we have to look for ways to set ourselves up for REPEATABLE success. Who’s with me on the video fatigue? *Hand Raise*

Are you interested in additional information regarding Nonverbal Overload?

Find it Here


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