Are you experiencing Zoom fatigue?

Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other online communication platforms have been helpful to our legal profession as we have all learned to best function during the COVID pandemic. Our use of these technologies, and the efficiencies they bring, will continue well past the pandemic restrictions and our profession has undergone a forced evolution that has been beneficial in many respects.

But the use of online platforms has its costs. One which many of us have experienced is a general sense of Zoom fatigue. Recent peer-reviewed research from Stanford academics suggests four reasons that contribute to Zoom fatigue:

  1. Excessive amounts of close eye contact is highly intense and exhausting, our brains are not programmed to experience the continuous face-to-face contact video chats create.
  2. Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing, it's unnatural talking to a mirror especially if you become conscious of perceived flaws in your appearance.
  3. Video chats drastically reduce our usual mobility and people tend to perform better cognitively when they are moving.
  4. The cognitive load is much higher in video chats, we have to work much harder to interpret gestures and non-verbal clues.

The research is summarized in an excellent article written by Neil Franklin and published recently in insight online.

If you’re curious about your own level of Zoom fatigue there is a neat survey being conducted by Stanford University here.

Finally, I would encourage you to join us at our weekly LAPBC drop-in group (details here). We connect on many of the issues facing our profession and on April 7th and 14th we will be specifically talking about COVID fatigue and ways we are all coping. Hope to see you there.

Sam Lupton
Sam is an Lawyer/Coach and joined LAP in 2020.