ODU researchers: How to avoid Zoom fatigue
Create sense of belonging, choose ideal meeting time
Although pandemic workdays for many have been filled with back-to-back Zoom meetings, a sense of belonging has dwindled, according to research published by Old Dominion University and Ohio State University researchers.
“Feeling like you belong with the group is so tremendously important on a videoconference, and from our results, higher group identity was related to less fatigue after a meeting — whereas having your camera on or looking at yourself more often was not,” Emily D. Campion, ODU Strome College of Business assistant professor of management, said in a statement.
To create a sense of belonging, researchers suggest making time for non-work chats and small-group discussions. They also suggest using the mute function when the participant isn’t speaking.
“This avoids anxiety about making an unintentional noise that would distract others,” according to the study. “However, the researchers found that those who felt a low sense of connection with the group felt more tired after the meeting if they were muted themselves. The researchers believe that being an active participant would help in these situations.”
The study also addressed how duration of meetings and the time of day in which they are held can affect employee fatigue. Their findings were contrary to recent reports and initial ideas, Kathleen R. Keeler, assistant professor of management and human resources at Ohio State’s Max M. Fisher College of Business, said in a statement.
“Videoconference duration did not impact end-of-meeting fatigue,” she said in a statement. “In fact, having more meetings each day did not impact end-of-day fatigue either. Rather, the time of day of the videoconference meeting did matter — and it’s essential to take into consideration each person’s natural energy trajectory each day.”
Researchers also suggest opting for scheduling meetings early in the afternoon or right after lunch as they appeared to reduce fatigue in their findings.
“Overall, we think this study has tremendous implications for people who are working remotely now or will be in the future, and can certainly impact human resources practices, too,” Keener said in a statement.