Scientists explain video-conferencing fatigue

A new study has investigated the effects on our health of long spells of video-conferencing. Communications expert Jeremy Bailenson dubbed the phenomenon "Zoom fatigue," but acknowledged it is not restricted to just that platform. In the past year, most of us have spent lots of time online using an array of video-conferencing platforms. The coronavirus pandemic has meant tools like Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts have been the only way we have been able to see loved ones. Many companies have relied heavily on Zoom for meetings, and educators have used it to teach online.

There are many factors why video-conferencing induces fatigue. It is not just tiredness and strained eyes from staring at computer screens for hours. It also comes from "cognitive overload" and feeling pressure to be perpetually online. We feel we must always be available for family, friends, bosses, customers or students. This can lead to burnout and stress and can heighten the chance of getting moderate to severe depression. This anxiety can adversely affect self-confidence. The large number of faces staring at you in online meetings is like the stress of public speaking.