What is Video Conferencing Fatigue?
Different factors cause video conferencing fatigue, and these are not limited to the time spent presenting or watching through a screen.
Video Conferencing Fatigue is triggered by the overuse of video conferencing technology, which can lead to mental and physical exhaustion. I experience it myself; I also have a ringside seat as the wife of a remote worker and on-camera coach.
Since the pandemic, there has been a rise in remote working with a heavy dependency on video conference calls and webinars, increasing the use of video conferencing technology. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, virtual presentations happened, but not on the scale we see today.
Pre-pandemic, I used Skype, video calls on my mobile, and the occasional Google Meet or Go to Meeting. Today, I have Zoom and Teams ready to go at the click of a button, and I invested in streaming software to host the video podcast series ‘The Wise Why.’
During the COVID-19 lockdown, the world discovered you could save money and increase productivity by creating virtual and hybrid meetings, which are excellent. Now, we must deal with video conferencing fatigue.
What Causes Video Conferencing Fatigue?
Lighting: When you are on a video conference call or webinar, you have no control over the lighting or the background being streamed at you; unlike the TV, you cannot switch channels.
Bad Audio: Interference, as we know, is annoying; now mix this with crackling audio and feedback. In an office, you can do something about it. You are stuck on a video conference call or webinar; there may be many reasons you have joined the call and cannot leave.
Background Noise: You go on a call only to find people who have yet to go on mute; you can hear all the noise in their homes and the presenter, making staying focused challenging.
Screen Time: Sitting in front of the screen for a long time can cause headaches, eye strain, and neck and back pain.
Depression: Working remotely can be lonely; your commute to the office is now only a few steps, and your main interactions are not in person.
Switching off: When you work in an office, you walk away and forget about work; now you have a computer that is a constant reminder of yet another task, which impacts your sleep, and worse still if you cannot sleep, you get up and do more work.
Your Office: This is the biggest cause of video conferencing fatigue and one that is easily fixed. If your audio and visuals are poor, look at ways to upgrade your technology, where as if your space is cluttered or you are perching in a corner on the end of a bed, look at how you can create a dedicated space for joining and presenting video conference calls.
“If it weren’t for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all.” Joey Adams
Video Conferencing Fatigue – The Presenter
- 1. Stop Using Slides: Your audience wants to see you, not a barely visible talking head; you can send the slides later.
- 2. Camera Lens at Eye Level: No one wants to look at your hair roots or up your nose; there are lots of options available today; I use a gooseneck mount.
- 3. Body Language: Keep gestures small and in the shot; one of my pet hates is when people start pointing with their hands at the camera. your hands look huge, and when you point through the lens, you are being virtually rude.
- 4. Practice: Not just the presentation, but also any props you want to show, the conference software, know how to access the chat, create rooms, and screen shares.
- 5. Test: Your technology works.
As a Presenter, it is your responsibility to do everything you can to help alleviate video conferencing fatigue for your audience. You will find they are more engaged, and your presentation is remembered for the right reasons. Here are my top tips on how to alleviate video conferencing fatigue. Small changes make a huge difference.
Video Conferencing Fatigue – Daily Tips
- 1. Schedule Breaks Between Calls: This will help you feel refreshed and get a break from the screen. More importantly, you would if you were in an office.
- 2. Invest in Ergonomic Equipment: While a new mouse, keyboard, or chair will take time to get used to, the difference is incredible.
- 3. Be Present: Treat the meeting as if you are attending an in-person meeting, dress for the occasion, turn your mobile to silence, get yourself a cup of your favourite drink, and listen.
- 4. Speak up: If someone has a virtual background on and you can feel the start of a headache, ask them to turn off the background or move to another location. You would do this in an office, yet we are all far too polite when working from home.
Video Conferencing Fatigue – 3 Quick Fixes
- 1. Enhance your lighting
- 2. Use a decent microphone and speaker system
- 3. Clear your clutter
To Improve your lighting, place a warm light above your camera lens; this will balance out any glow from any computer screen. Where possible, it is best to sit facing natural daylight.
When daylight is behind you, the camera may struggle with changing light unless your camera has (WDR) ‘Wide Dynamic Range.’ If natural light is behind, it is worth investing in three-point lighting and closing your blinds and curtains.
Regarding audio, nobody wants to hear feedback or crackling they cannot control. I prefer a wireless hands-free speaker system; a decent headset will do the same, although a headset can add to video conferencing fatigue.
When you do have background noise coming from building work or some other source like the bin collection, tell the people on the call to avoid them being distracted.
Finally, I’d like you to create a workspace that works for you that is cluttered-free; this will help you feel better simultaneously. You will be helping your audience and other callers on the video conferencing call as you are limiting the distractions on the screen.
Video conferencing and virtual presenting are here to stay, meaning we will all experience video conferencing fatigue occasionally.
Adopting the steps above will help alleviate video conferencing fatigue, making your working space better for you and your audience.