BLUF

Professor Jeremy Bailenson provides ways to reduce the fatigue and anxiety caused by participating in too many virtual meetings.

Summary

COVID-19 has forced more people to work from home. Virtual conferencing tools, such as Zoom, are a vital way of keeping staff engaged. Video conferencing might be an important tool, but there are some drawbacks to participating in virtual conferences. Professor Jeremy Bailenson from Stanford University has identified four reasons why video chats can cause fatigue and has proposed strategies to deal with the problem:
  1. Reduce the use of full-screen mode. Reason: full screen can result in excessive close eye contact, which we do not generally experience in everyday human interaction.
  2. Turn off self-view. Reason: viewing yourself while participating in a virtual conference can lead to self-consciousness and anxiety. 
  3. Take regular breaks. Reason: virtual conferencing can reduce mobility.
  4. During long meetings, switch to audio-only. Reason: the cognitive load is higher in virtual meetings—audio-only reduces the cognitive load.
Consider whether you could apply these techniques to virtual meetings that you attend.