Why Are We More Tired from Zooming Than Real-lifing?
The science behind Zoom-fatigue and what we can do about it.
Ironic, isn’t it? The “logical” assumption points to real-life meetings being more tiring. I mean, the physical labor… makes sense, right?
I’ve never been more exhausted sitting on my chair staring at a screen. (Only in 2020–21 will you see a sentence like that.)
But why? Good question. You’re about to find out.
“Long Day of Staring at a Screen, I Have It So Hard😔”
Back-to-back video calls require more focus than a face-to-face chat. It has to do with our subconscious. We work harder to process non-verbal cues like the tone and pitch of the voice, facial expressions, and body language all through the screen.
See, our minds may be connected, but our bodies are not. Studies show that your words account for only 7% of the message you convey. The remaining 93% is non-verbal. 55% of communication is based on what people see and the other 38% is transmitted through tone of voice.
With zoom calls, we simply can’t have that. It’s mentally exhausting because you can’t naturally relax into a conversation like you’ve been used to your whole life.
Allow me to add to your stress and embarrassment: a 2014 study suggests that lagging during conferences negatively shape our views on people. A mere 1.2-second delay can make you perceive the responder as less friendly or focused.
And, of course, let us address the elephant in the room: insecurity. If we are on camera, we are forced into the direct line of sight of every attendee. Our own mini spotlight, yay. You know what comes with a spotlight? A stage. This stage burdens us with social pressure to perform and come off presentable. Like any actor, if we’re on this stage (call) for hours, we’re drained by the end.
It’s also very hard not to look at yourself when cameras are on, have you noticed that? That’s not just my narcissism speaking, right? People are more self-conscious and therefore distracted. Next thing you know, you’re focusing on the wrong things and have an unproductive Zoom session.