Writing for The Conversation, Paul Levy, Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Innovation Management at the University of Brighton, explores the psychological consequences of ‘Zoom fatigue’ and burnout. Described as the tiredness, worry or burnout associated with excessive use of virtual communication platforms, Zoom fatigue is a real and pervasive issue.
In this article, Levy highlights findings from emerging research, explaining why endless virtual meetings are sapping our energy and focus. According to Levy, a video call requires extra work to receive non-verbal signs of communication that are lost on a screen. This leads to ‘non-verbal overload.’ As such, we are expending extra energy from too much eye contact trying to interpret communication signals we would ordinarily pick up on in-person. Levy suggests balancing Zoom meetings with phone calls, instead. In addition to the benefits of avoiding non-verbal overload, a phone call also allows freedom to stretch, move, and perhaps even go for a walk.
In another publication in Psychology Today, Dr. Brian Robinson, licensed psychotherapist, journalist and Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina, provides additional practical tips to mitigate the harmful effects of endless screen hours, such as:
Investing in blue-light blocking glasses: Filtering blue light from computer screens is suggested to improve sleep and decision-making.
Spending time in green environments: Replacing hours in front of the screen with breaks in nature has been reported to attenuate some of the damaging effects of prolonged sitting, time in front of the screen and fatigue.
Giving your eyes a break every 20 minutes: For every 20 minutes you spend staring at your screen, look away for 20 seconds to stretch, walk or hydrate. Set an alarm so you don’t forget.
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