Video communication needs to think outside the box to end Zoom fatigue

A recent study by Stanford University researchers added to a growing list of papers on the topic of ‘Zoom fatigue’ — a term ubiquitous with the rise of remote work.  Workers are spending more time than ever in video conferencing tools with no signs of slowing down, even as some teams return to a hybrid office future.  

Last May our CEO and co-founder, Raj Singh, put together a list of ideas to reduce Zoom fatigue in the article ‘Why Do Zoom Calls Make Us So Tired?’.  

Some of the ideas suggested to end Zoom fatigue:

  1. Where possible, reduce the frequency and length of meetings.  Target meeting lengths of no more than 25 minutes, especially if scheduled back to back.
  2. Phone calls and/or audio-only meetings are 100% acceptable — video can be taxing if you’re on them all day long.
  3. Reduce meeting participant numbers.  Smaller meetings encourage more natural conversation, whereas large meetings tend to feel formal.
  4. If space and budget permits, experiment with an external camera that supports standing and moving around, and larger views which allow you (and ideally your teammates) to express more visual cues.

The key suggestions from the recent Stanford University research may have been more directed at the video communication community, as they think about the conferencing experience that tools provide.  The main goals, as they suggest, are to create conferencing views that increase the personal space between yourself and other participants’ faces, and it’s something which we have paid a lot of attention to in building Loop Team.  

  1. The researchers found remote workers suffered from extreme stress staring at themselves on video calls.  They suggest ‘Hiding your self-view’ if the conferencing tool supports this feature.
  2. The research also pointed out that the size of the video conferencing window is problematic.  The close proximity of faces that we typically experience in video tools usually replicates a distance more common with intimate family members.  In Loop Team, we solved this with our ‘mini-view’ which creates distance by  scaling down the size of the windows — allowing for more informal and natural communication.

As remote work continues, video conferencing tools like Zoom and virtual office tools like Loop Team, will need to continue to innovate to make work conversations more and more natural.