It's ironic that we did a Zoom backgrounds article some time back, and here we are today. It's Phase 2, and though dining in returns a certain sense of normalcy, most of us continue to work from home. This means the same amount, if not more video calls, whether on Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, or even FaceTime. From online client meetings to increased 'catch-up sessions', these digital interactions are evidently wearing us out.
Why you're feeling the burn
- Non-verbal cues are compromised
Reduced to a tiny portion of your computer screen, the gestures, postures, and tone of voice of speakers are less perceptible. You are exerting more energy simply to process these components of conversation, which we often rely on more than the words.
- Self-awareness is increased
Having our own facial expressions mirrored back to us is another stress factor when we are unconsciously portraying a less than positive emotion, especially as that's the screen you fixate on the most. By trying to overcome the problems a virtual meeting presents, overcompensation when dealing with the to communicate correctly also adds to the exhaustion.
- The physical environment has changed
Most of you can relate that silence in a Zoom call is almost deafening. When talking face-to-face, silence is part of a natural rhythm. Contrastingly, a short delay in an online response is easily perceived as less attentive or friendly. That anxiety, on top of the fact that your meeting location likely remains the same as your work station at home, unlike a physical meeting, creates cognitive barriers when trying to activate relevant behaviours like creativity and problem-solving.
What you can do about it
Real-life conversations are obviously, markedly different from its online substitute. You are able to look around while still paying attention (no one stares straight at the speaker the whole time), allowing your brain some down time. It's important to bear your mental wellbeing in mind and utilise the tips in the gallery above with discretion.
And if all else fails, just play Zoom bingo.