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Zoom fatigue: How video calls affect our concentration


Ever felt tired after too many video calls? Well, turns out there’s scientific proof for that feeling.

Researchers in Austria looked into how video meetings affect the bodies and minds of university students who lived on campus. They hooked them up to some fancy monitors and had them use Zoom, Microsoft Teams and similar platforms.

Since you read the first paragraph, I’ll bet you know what comes next.

Brain signals during online meetings showed more activity in the part linked to focus, attention and stress compared to face-to-face meetings. So, it's not just in your head—our brains have to work harder to stay focused during video calls.

The study also found changes in heart rate that showed signs of tiredness during online meetings.

Now don’t get rash and start cancelling your 2024 video meetings! Remember that the study was done with university students on campus, not with those of us who may be more used to it and are working from the comfort of our home offices. Age and environment might make a difference.

But the main point is clear: Talking in person versus through a screen affects our bodies. Even if you're not a student on campus, video meeting fatigue is a real thing.

So, what can businesses do to keep the benefits of video meetings without driving their employees crazy?

Use the Tools

One option is to use tools like Teams, Slack or good old email to reduce the need for real-time video meetings. Let your team respond when it works best for them.

More Face to Face

If possible, have face-to-face meetings when it's safe and doable. Nothing beats a real conversation, and it's a break from the virtual world.

Talk to Your Team!

A simple solution is often the best one. Talk to your team about how they like to communicate. Some may like video meetings, while others prefer messages or calls.

Give Space

When you do have video meetings, keep them short and spaced out. Avoid back-to-back calls and give breaks between meetings to prevent burnout.

It’s not time to smash your webcam just yet. As you plan for 2024, take a moment to think about how you and your team communicate so you can find the right balance to keep everyone interested and energized.

If you need a hand with team comms, let us know. We’re here to help.