Zoom fatigue has become an uncomfortable reality for many during the pandemic. But what exactly causes back-to-back video calls to feel so much more exhausting than a day of face-to-face meetings?
Jeremy Bailenson, Stanford University professor of communication and founder of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, has sought to find out. In a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Technology, Mind and Behaviour, Bailenson identifies four underlying reasons.
One is an overload of “close distance eye gaze.” Essentially we’re forced to stare directly at people for hours on end, using a technology that was originally reserved for conversations with close acquaintances. The size of the screen and inability to look away in the same way we would do when sharing an intimate space like a lift can add to the discomfort.