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Fixing Zoom Fatigue

All posts

Fixing Zoom Fatigue


Best Alternative to Zoom, Google Meet & Skype


In the past couple of years, companies have relied heavily on traditional video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, and Skype to name a few. While many software review websites and media publications will say that Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype are the best video chat applications, users have had a far different experience. These tools exhibit unnatural practices that are counteractive to how humans are developed.


Why Do Virtual Meetings Feel Tiring?

The reasons are actually quite simple and logical. Many of the activities that happened and don’t happen in group video chats create Zoom fatigue. Here are the five primary causes of video conferencing burnout.

  1. Too much staring. In a virtual meeting, the way people look at one another is unnatural. In a physical meeting, people don’t just stare at one another. They look out the window, around the room, down at their notes, etc. The point being is that they engage with the environment around them, rather than intently stare at one another.
  2. Faces are too big. Humans interpret physical closeness as being an intense situation, fighting, or romantic interaction. But when using Zoom, Google Meet and Skype, participating faces are forced into what our brains think is an intense situation. This causes the brain to easily burn out.
  3. All-day mirror. People wouldn’t spend their whole day looking at a mirror. Given the way video chat apps like Google Meet and Zoom have been adopted in business, this is exactly what millions of employees are doing. This has led to a rapid rise in the way that people physically evaluate their appearance, causing negative consequences for team members' mental and physical health.
  4. Cognitive overload. Humans evolved as social animals, and this means that we get a majority of our conversational cues from non-verbal interactions. Zoom-type virtual meeting apps cause cognitive overload. This occurs because our brains have to work-overtime in order to keep track of the conversation.
  5. Speaker-Listener Dynamic. The so-called best video chat apps, Skype, Google Meet, and Zoom all share one major similarity that drives video chat fatigue, strong speaker-listener dynamic. This is when one person speaks (and maybe presents their screen) while the others listen quietly. This causes team members to heavily disengage from scheduled virtual meetings, reducing collaboration and creativity.

Compounding Factors

Since early 2020, the way people worked and communicated has shifted greatly. This rapid evolution generated compounding factors that exacerbated the rise of Zoom fatigue in 2020. According to Google Search Trends, searches for the phrase Zoom fatigue reached their peak in May 2020. This was the result of two managerial mistakes triggered by the immediate shift to remote work. 

  • Too Many Meetings. Many managers, inexperienced at running remote teams, shifted to hosting more meetings in 2020. Microsoft’s research team found that Microsoft Teams users experienced a 55% increase in Teams meetings per week. Successful managers have strived to fix the too many meetings problem by replacing traditional virtual meetings with micro-interactions between team members.
  • Common Team Bonding Mistake. Another early driver of Zoom fatigue was a mistaken belief in the COVID-19 Pandemic that good management meant having virtual face-to-face meetings versus traditional calls or emails. Many HR professionals told managers to use video conferencing software to do virtual wellness checks on their team members who were now in quarantine. This created many unnecessary meetings and accelerated feelings of Zoom fatigue. Many employees quickly reported having too many meetings and not enough time to do their work.


"55 percent increase in Teams meetings per week during the pandemic"

How To Reduce Zoom Fatigue

The first step, admit your team may have a problem. As a manager, it's important to get your team's feedback. Simply ask them if they feel that virtual meeting fatigue is a problem? If the answer is yes (most of the time it is), then make a plan for fixing it. 

The inconvenient truth is that Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet are not fixable products. It's also unreasonable as a remote/hybrid manager to ask your team members to use a video conferencing tool that doesn’t align with your company’s overall needs. Therefore the solution is to find something that fits your team’s needs and your company’s goals.


Fixing Your Team's Zoom Fatigue Issue

If your team does have an issue, then the best alternative to traditional video chat software like Google Meet, Zoom, and Skype is a virtual workspace platform. It may feel stressful to ditch your company’s existing video conferencing software, but your team will thank you. Remember, it's a sign of a good leader to care about your team’s physical and mental well-being.


What is a Virtual Office Tool?

Unlike standard video conferencing software, virtual workspace software, sometimes called virtual office software, replaces the grid of video faces with an immersive virtual work environment. 

Four Reasons to Use a Virtual Office

  • Non-human Engagement. Unlike video conferencing software, the best virtual office tools have non-human interaction features. These include the ability to interact with your environment both doing fun things, e.g., pouring a virtual drink, as well as productive things like using a whiteboard to brainstorm ideas during a meeting.
  • Better Collaboration. One of the biggest challenges with video conferencing tools is a heavy speaker-listener dynamic. This discourages collaboration and causes people listening to the meeting to disengage.
  • Quick Interactions. One of the biggest challenges for remote and hybrid teams is the lack of quick chats. Many ideas and plans can quickly be hashed out by short collaborative interactions between team members. One of the primary advantages of using a virtual office is the ability for team members to “bump” into each other. These daily micro meetings make team members more productive and avoid lingering blockers.
  • Team Bonding. A common theme around hybrid and remote teams is that they are very productive but feel a lack of joy among team members. Teams that use a virtual work environment report feeling a true sense of community. The virtual office space gives the team a centralized place to gather the whole team. Many hybrid and remote companies have invested in monthly or quarterly happy hours or game nights, but studies have shown that virtual team bonding happens with daily micro-interactions.

Kumospace has been called the best virtual meeting app by remote and hybrid teams. This is because users find that Kumospace solves a lot of Zoom fatigue naturally. When a user is in a Kumospace they are interacting with small faces in an environment with virtual drinks, food items, and fun games. All these richly illustrated items (see the full furniture catalog) provide an opportunity for team members to engage with the environment and activity converse with team members in micro-daily interactions. Managers of teams that use Kumospace report happier team members, more collaboration, and stronger team bonds.


Looking to Solve Virtual Meeting Fatigue?

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