Ever felt that exhaustion after spending too much time in online meetings, wishing for some real face-to-face interaction instead? That sensation has a name – Zoom fatigue.

Scientific evidence now supports what we’ve all sensed. Researchers from Austrian universities delved into the impact of video conferencing on our bodies and minds. Equipping participants with EEG and EKG monitors, they explored the effects of platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

The findings were revealing.

EEG measurements showed an increase in higher-level brain signal frequencies linked to concentration, attention, and stress during virtual meetings compared to in-person interactions. So, it’s not just in your head – those video calls genuinely demand extra effort to stay focused.

Moreover, the study uncovered changes in heart rate variability, signaling persistent signs of fatigue throughout online meetings.

Before dismissing video meetings entirely, consider the study’s context – it involved university students on campus, not corporate professionals in home offices. Variations based on age and environment might exist.

Nevertheless, the primary message is clear – face-to-face communication versus screen interaction significantly affects the human body. Video conferencing fatigue is a real issue, not limited to college students.

How can businesses retain the benefits of video conferencing without overwhelming their teams?

Explore collaboration tools like Teams, Slack, or traditional email to minimize the need for real-time video meetings. Provide flexibility for your team to respond at their convenience.

Where possible, schedule in-person meetings when safe and practical. Nothing beats the personal touch of face-to-face conversations and a break from the virtual world.

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most effective. Engage in open conversations with your employees about their communication preferences. Some may thrive in video meetings, while others may prefer written updates or phone calls.

For scheduled video meetings, keep them concise. Avoid consecutive calls and incorporate breaks to prevent burnout.

In essence, don’t discard your webcam just yet. Instead, reassess your communication methods, finding the right mix to keep your team engaged and energized.

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