Zoom fatigue is so very real, even Zoom’s chief operating officer, Aparna Bawa, acknowledged how we feel in an interview with the BBC in December. “When people talk about Zoom fatigue, the struggle is real, but it is not Zoom’s fault… You have to build wellness into your life, and take breaks [from the screen],” she argued.
Zoom, and other video call systems, also take away some of the main cues you use to co-ordinate a conversation, which are your eye gaze and breathing. If participants aren’t able to look into another’s eyes or sense their breathing while being able to actually see each other, it can be tough.
Eye contact is very complex in conversation. We use it to manage who’s going to speak, for emphasis, and to make sure you’ve got someone’s attention and to show you want their attention – and all that’s going on at the same time as you’re talking to them. Zoom takes that away.
A more fulfilling emotional experience, then, could be a return to a traditional phone call. All of these additional, arguably needless, visual cues are ultimately what may cause Zoom fatigue. Next time you find yourself organizing a Zoom call with a friend – why not suggest a traditional phone call, instead?