The real problem behind feeling "zoomed out" is actually
camera fatigue, a new study shows.

The manager starts the video conference and asks everyone to turn on their webcams. For the next two hours, all employees stare at each other and at themselves. A seemingly harmless scenario these days, but a new study shows it has negative effects.  

According to research from the University of Arizona, the pandemic phenomenon known as "zoom fatigue" may not be due so much to the constant sessions as it is to being on camera so often. The study found that women and new employees are more affected. 

The main difference between presenting in person in meetings and presenting on camera is that you can look at yourself. 

The study observed 103 participants and recorded more than 1,400 responses both with the camera on and off. In Zoom meetings, there's no rest for the eyes because you're looking at the screen for hours. In addition, body language cues below shoulder level are not transmitted over the webcam, so you have to rely on facial expressions alone, which also leads to fatigue.

New employees feel more drained by being in front of the camera all the time because of the increased cost of self-presentation, experts say. New employees try to climb the learning curve quickly, which can be difficult, especially in a remote environment. 

Perhaps managers can change the way meetings are conducted. For example, some companies have policies such as "zoom days" to give employees a break from constant meetings.  As for employees on such calls, experts advise combating the mirror effect by hiding the self-view in zoom camera settings. 

It's unnatural to stare at yourself for so long. Knowing that you can't see yourself can help reduce fatigue. At the same time, it doesn't hurt engagement because others can still see you.


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