2020 has been dominated by a new sickness, and we’re not talking about COVID-19-Zoom fatigue.
Zoom fatigue is “the tiredness, worry, or burnout associated with overusing virtual platforms of communication.” Since the start of extensive working from home in March, many individuals have felt emotionally drained. Not only do we miss the normal interactions that come from work and daily life, COVID has created stress within our family and social experiences.
Like many of you, we have experience this first-hand. Since March, the PJS office has held 342 meetings for a total of 1,242 hours, or just under 52 days.
Scientists say that zoom fatigue is very real. It is caused by a number of biological factors, “fMRI(functional MRI) data reveals that live face-to-face interactions, compared to viewing recordings, are associated with greater activation in the same brain regions involved in reward” meaning you look forward to social interaction, but you aren’t getting any reward out of it, making you more tired. One zoomer mentioned that following around the yellow box of who is speaking at the time as one of the things that gets tiring. Another added stress is the coordination of the meeting. Which video conferencing system are we using? What time? Do I have a link?
Audio and video delays cause people to seem distrustful. Lack of Eye contact due to looking at the screen reduces personal connection, likeability, and response time etc. With video chat, you also can’t get other nonverbal cues like joint attention (shared attention) and body posture. (www.psychiatrictimes.com)
How can I combat Zoom Fatigue?
- Build in breaks
- Try to keep meetings short
- Physical Activity
- “Physical activity is associated with about a 40% reduced risk of fatigue.”
- Don’t multitask
- Stick to regular phone calls
- Ask to have the camera turned off/Have a neutral background
- You’re often tempted to be distracted by the other person’s background. Having a neutral background can help cut down the visual clutter.
I’m a nonprofit, what can I do for programming and volunteers that doesn’t include zoom?
- Peer to Peer Fundraising
- Writing Notes or Letters
- Assembling Packages
- “Social Ambassador” (post about how much you love the organization, share their post
- Ask for testimonials
- Make reminder calls to volunteers or program participants