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Are you suffering from ‘Zoom fatigue’?

One of the most unexpected outcomes of the COVID-19 outbreak has been to show us that a lot of our jobs can be done from home. While this may be a good thing to many, this has had a side effect as well. More often than not, we find ourselves on a Zoom meeting to discuss with our colleagues. Not just work, even family get-togethers and catching up on friends has gone virtual to these platforms. This, of course, is a good thing during this time of social isolation but it has given birth to a new problem: the ‘Zoom fatigue’.
Laura Dudley, a behavioural analyst from Northeastern University talks about how our everyday conversations rely a lot upon not just the verbal matter but non-verbal cues like eye contact, shifts in posture, etc. as well. The latter tell us a lot about the mental state of the person. However, in a video conference, this is lost. This can be called the ‘Zoom fatigue’. To keep up with their work and loved ones, people often have to use multiple platforms of this kind on a given day making it energy consuming. Even if you are using just one platform continuously, not receiving non-verbal cues can ask too much of your brainpower.
Having a video conference requires a lot of effort. To maintain your eye contact with the listeners, you have to look at the webcam as you speak. However, to maintain this when they are talking, you have to look at their images on the screen. Further, many platforms show you on the screen as well giving you a mirror image of yourself. This can be bothersome to keep you worrying if you are looking professional throughout the meeting or not. However much the technological advances may have happened, there are some things that are better done the natural way. The rise of ‘Zoom fatigue’ is an indicator of this.
N Malavika Mohan