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  • Writer's pictureSusan Fisher

The Zoom exhaustion scale

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Zoom Out has been getting worse. Researchers at Stanford University took a look at why and how it affects us and have developed a Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale (ZEF) Scale.

Here is what too much Zoom can do and how to fix it.

Too Much Eyeball Time

The amount of eye contact in a video meeting is just unnatural. You would never normally be up so close with anyone unless you were about to kiss them or hit them ! And you are looking at everyone, up close, all the time.

People Staring

Even if you say nothing in a meeting you are still looking at faces staring at you. If you are using an external screen those faces could be larger than in real life. That's stressful. In real life people do not stare at all the faces in the room all the time - they look down, look away, look at each other one on one.

What You Can Do: Keep the screen at least an arm's length away from you and if your are sharing screen consider using an external keyboard. That increases the space between you and them to feel more natural. Don't use the full-screen option and reduce the window to reduce face size. Too Much Mirror Time We all know that staring at ourselves all day does not feel good. Staring at yourself talking, responding, nodding & reacting is even worse. It makes us too critical of ourselves.

What You Can Do: Use the hide self-view button once you've checked that you're in the frame properly. Three little dots on the top right hand side of your picture.

Too Much On

You have to work hard when you're on video chats to understand how people are doing. You don't have the usual nonverbal communication - gestures, nods, head movements, facial expressions - to guide you so you have to be checking all the time to see how people are doing. You also may find yourself exaggerating your response - leaning forward, exaggerated smiles or nods or thumbs up.

Gestures also become less clear - you could be looking up at someone who comes in the room or looking away as the dog comes for a pat. That could be seen as looking away from the speaker when it is not that at all. What You Can Do: Sit slightly to the side so you're not full on all the time and agree with your team that video breaks are ok.

Check out your Exhaustion The Stanford communication researchers have devised a scale to measure your own Zoom fatigue. You can take the survey here Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale

The full article is here

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