Smiling black businessman with laptop at cafeHow many Zoom meetings do you participate in each week? Probably more than you used to. The use of Zoom and other video conferencing technology has skyrocketed during the global pandemic as a way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and as many businesses adapt to remote work. Unfortunately, all of those video calls can lead to “Zoom fatigue.”

Studies show that an increasing share of remote workers have discovered that video conferencing can be both challenging and draining — even for those who aren’t huge fans of meetings of the in-person variety. Why? Here are a few reasons why you might find Zoom meetings so tiring.

  • You can’t take breaks. Many busy professionals face back-to-back Zoom meetings each day — and as a result are sitting down and staring at a computer screen for long stretches of time. In a Zoom meeting, you feel compelled to keep your attention on the faces on the screen. But nonstop screen time is tough on both your body and eyes. With in-person meetings, you get to move around a bit and your eyes get a rest from screens. Not so with back-to-back Zoom meetings. Take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Also, try to schedule Zoom meetings with more wiggle room in between so that you can look away from your computer, stretch or even take a short walk.
  • You’re multitasking. It’s easy to minimize a Zoom call and try to get other work done. The problem with this approach is that you are only giving half of your your attention to each task. You’re not getting as much done as you think — especially quality work that requires concentration — and you’re not paying attention to either the meeting or the task as you should. It’s simple: Research shows that human beings are not equipped to effectively multitask, even though most of us continue to try. Studies show that you’ll get more done — and do a much better job — if you focus on one task at a time. The next time you’re on a video call, close any tabs or programs that might distract you, put your phone away, and stay tuned in.
  • You’re looking at yourself. In face to face meetings, you don’t see your own face while you’re talking, of course. Not so with Zoom. The problem: Several studies show that many people don’t like seeing themselves for long periods on the screen and many people get distracted by their own face in Zoom meetings. Here’s something to try: At the start of your next Zoom meeting, double check that your appearance is in order and then hide yourself from view. Others in the meeting can still see you, but you’ll no longer see your face on the screen.
  • You’re switching over almost exclusively to video communication. During the pandemic, many of us haven’t just replaced in-person meetings with Zoom — we began hopping in a Zoom room for discussions that used to take place over phone or e-mail. That’s a recipe for video burnout. Don’t treat video as a default method of communication. Phone calls often work well and some instances, even better than a video conference.