We moved to work from home as the novel coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc around the world. Virtual meetings increased as the offices were shut to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. Initially, people were seen getting comfortable with the trend as it saved them from moving out of their houses. But as time passed, people started feeling tired due to long hours of online work and virtual meetings. According to new research, fatigue increases if a person keeps the camera on during the virtual meetings, but if the camera is turned off, it becomes less tiring for the person. The study has been published by Applied Phycology.
Self-presentation is additional pressure:
Professor and Researcher Allison Gabriel of the University Of Arizona’s college of Management says that keeping the camera on was found to be the main reason for zoom fatigue and it has caused severe problems of tiredness among many employees.
She said that it has been commonly seen that if the camera is kept on during the virtual meetings, you are connected to the activity but it creates an additional pressure of self–presentation. It compels you to look professional and puts pressure of including a good background, keeping children away from the camera, etc.
After four-week research on 103 persons, 1400 observations have been recorded. Based on these observations, Allison Gabriel says, “We have found that more tiredness is felt when the camera was on as compared to when people didn’t keep their cameras on.”
The study also found that this fatigue had a major impact on females and new employees especially because of the pressure of self-presentation. Gabriel says, “Females, to look perfect, are more cautious about any obstruction, whereas the new employees remain under stress in showing themselves active and productive.”
What do we do?
Gabriel says that asking the employees to always keep their cameras on can never be a better option. The employees should be given a chance to either keep the camera on/off as per their choice during the virtual meetings and it should not be assumed that keeping the camera off would affect the productivity and participation of the employee.