Like many people, I spend tons of time in virtual meetings. And sometimes, I just want to turn that camera off and not worry about what I look like or what my background looks like. Keeping up virtual appearances can be tiring. But I don't want people in the meeting to think that I'm not paying attention.
A study from the University of Arizona describes what's called "Zoom fatigue." And the researchers say it may be partially caused by having your camera on all the time.
"When people had cameras on or were told to keep cameras on, they reported more fatigue than their non-camera using counterparts," says Allison Gabriel, a professor at the University of Arizona. "And that fatigue correlated to less voice and less engagement during meetings. So, in reality, those who had cameras on were potentially participating less than those not using cameras. This counters the conventional wisdom that cameras are required to be engaged in virtual meetings."
Gabriel says newer employees and women seem to experience virtual meeting fatigue more than others do, possibly because of the stress of feeling as if you need to look good all the time or that a child may wander in and disrupt the meeting.
She suggests that employees should be able to choose whether or not to have the camera on or off during virtual meetings.
The study is published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
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