Reasons for work-related video-call fatigue

Video conferencing: Many companies now resort to online and remote working as COVID-19 pandemic surges
TJ
Tochi Juliet

A lot of people always experience tiredness and get exhausted after work-related video calls.

With the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, many have shifted their work to remote and online. Thus, online meetings have become a usual thing.

Almost everyone, ranging from teachers to people working in corporate sectors, now work online and connect with their co-workers via a video-conferencing app such as google hangout, zoom and others.

Work from home may seem easy and fun, but it is not. It comes with its own set of challenges that leaves you super tired at the end of the day. One of those is long video conferences or meetings.

Reasons for fatigue after long video conferencing meetings

If you’re finding that you’re more exhausted at the end of your workday than you used to be then these might be the reasons.

Inability to pick non-verbal cues

When in a video conference call, your body subconsciously looks for non-verbal cues and tries to understand the other person's views.

In this case, it becomes very difficult to look at others' non-verbal cue because, in a video call, we can only see the person from the waist up.

Subconsciously our body still tries to pick up as many nonverbal cues as possible, and this leads to an increase in fatigue and loss of energy.

During a video call, you try to grasp non-verbal cues of your colleagues and that can be difficult and exhausting.

Think of it this way: when you’re sitting in a conference room, you can rely on whispered side exchanges to catch you up if you get distracted or answer quick clarifying questions.

During a video call, however, it’s impossible to do this unless you use the private chat feature or awkwardly try to find a moment to unmute and ask a colleague to repeat themselves.

In a normal situation, the speaker can understand the crowd’s interest just by looking at them and their nonverbal cues but online, it becomes extremely hard for the speaker to understand their audience. This mental pressure increases stress and fatigue.

Distractions from tacky backgrounds

On the screen, distractions go far beyond yourself. You may be surprised to learn that on video, we not only focus on other’s faces but on their backgrounds as well.

If you’re on a call with five people, you may feel like you’re in five different rooms at once.

You can see their furniture, plants, and wallpaper. You might even strain to see what books they have on their shelves. The brain has to process all of these visual environmental cues at the same time.

Taking video-conferencing meetings can come with lots of distractions as you try to take in the background of each individual connected to the call.

Anxiety over keeping watch to ensure no one walks into the room

When you are attending a video conference call, the thought of someone suddenly walking into the room creates stress that leads to tiredness.

Working from home does not give enough personal space to anyone in the house, and having someone walk in the room while you are in a class or attending a meeting does not appear favourable.

We’re also continuously finding polite new ways to ask our loved ones not to disturb us, or turning them out as they crawl across the floor to grab their headphones off the dining table. For those who don’t have a private space to work, it is especially challenging.

Focusing more on the camera

Video call fatigue also arises from how we process information over video. On a video call, the only way to show we’re paying attention is to look at the camera.

But, in real life, how often do you stand within three feet of a colleague and stare at their face? Probably never. This is because having to engage in a “constant gaze” makes us uncomfortable and tiresome.

In-person, we are able to use our peripheral vision to glance out the window or look at others in the room. On a video call, because we are all sitting in different homes, if we turn to look out the window, we worry it might seem like we’re not paying attention.

Not to mention, most of us are also staring at a small window of ourselves, making us hyper-aware of every wrinkle, expression, and how it might be interpreted. This makes our brains grow fatigued.

When on a work-related video call, you tend to focus more on the camera as looking away might make it look like you are not paying attention.

Stress over your appearance

We often look at ourselves more during our office video calls as we tend to be conscious of how we are looking knowing that every other person in the call would be having a close look at us.

During video call meetings, one has to ensure that he looks presentable, and this may cause unwanted stress as nobody wants to look messy or dishevelled.

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