To protect workers against COVID-19, governments requested companies shift from an office setup to a remote one. Instead of face-to-face meetings, many employees attended virtual meetings using software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
However, "Zoom fatigue" is real. Using video conferencing platforms daily during the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the exhaustion of employees by 50%, a new study in Singapore revealed.
Read more: How to beat employee burnout
The Nanyang Technological University survey found that 46.2% of respondents reported feeling fatigued, overwhelmed, drained, or tired while and after using video conferencing platforms.
Researchers derived the study results from a survey of 1,145 Singaporeans working full-time who had indicated that they frequently used video conferencing applications. The study's respondents, which included workers at least 21 years old, said they worked at home three days a week and nine hours weekly.
"We were motivated to conduct our study after hearing of increasing reports of fatigue from the use of videoconferencing applications during the pandemic," NTU Assistant Professor Benjamin Li, who led the study, said.
He said they found a clear link between the increased use of video conferencing apps and fatigue among Singaporean workers.
Video conferencing tools are here due to the trend of flexible work arrangements. The study's findings are more relevant in today's context.
Assistant Professor Edmund Lee, who is the co-author of the study, said that companies should be more mindful of both the advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing apps in the workplace.
Although these apps are easy to navigate and helpful in conducting meetings, the downside is that people may end up exhausted and pack up their day with back-to-back meetings.
The researchers' goal in this study is to emphasize how current implementations of video conferencing technologies can be exhausting to employees and how employers can optimize and improve their use by their workforce.
Unfortunately, video conferencing significantly increases the amount of eye contact in an average meeting, which invokes stress and social anxiety in workers.
When speakers or meeting participants turn on their cameras and see themselves on video, it also creates constant fatigue. It encourages "mirror anxiety", a form of self-consciousness triggered by self-view in a video.
Assistant Professor Li explained that they hoped the research would spur further studies to understand the extent to which the conditions for human connection can socially determine health. The team hopes it will encourage stakeholders to come together to address the problems of video conferencing fatigue. video conferencing platforms.