Zoom Fatigue and Distracted Driving Share A Common Problem: Multitasking

Zoom Fatigue and Distracted Driving Share A Common Problem: MultitaskingRemote work — with its countless and never-ending online meetings — is taking its toll on employees. (Shutterstock) 

Feeling exhausted at the end of a long day of video-conferencing? Do your back, shoulders and mind ache after a Zoom meeting marathon? Do you miss the morning chit chat at the office’s water fountain and the face-to-face interaction with your favourite colleague?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, believe me, you’re one of millions suffering from Zoom fatigue, named after the popular video-conferencing app.

Recent figures in fact indicate that four in 10 remote workers report suffering from a sense of physical and mental exhaustion that accompanies the prolonged screen engagement and the lack of face-to-face interaction during the workday.

Women reportedly suffer even higher levels of stress during video-conferencing relative to men. This is possibly the result of mirror anxiety, a phenomenon whereby seeing oneself in the mirror — or digitally as in the case of videocalls — triggers greater self-scrutiny.

With workplaces becoming increasingly virtual, my focus on understanding human cooperation with machines and systems contributes to understanding how human cognition responds to our increasingly virtual world.

Drastic effects

In March 2020 — when the World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 pandemic — there was a sudden and drastic impact on work habits. Employers rushed to shift their workforce to teleworking globally, and even industries that historically relied on manual labour started pushing for more unmanned automation.

Albeit the rush toward teleworking and virtual learning has its advantages — think, for example, of how much shorter commutes are — it does not come without costs.

The clinical community has widely acknowledged the threat that Zoom fatigue poses to mental health, and a Google search for DIY remedies often turn up a handful of somewhat useful yet largely unproven interventions, like packing daily videocalls together in one reserved time slot, or using headset rather than the computer’s built-in mic.

Scales of measurement

Zoom fatigue has become so prevalent that a group of scientists from the University of Gothenburg and Stanford University developed the Zoom Exhaustion and Fatigue Scale. This scale might be used as an assessment tool to better understand the prevalence and magnitude of this condition.

The specific causes of Zoom fatigue are still unknown. Contributing factors include the worker’s urge to comply with proper “Zoom etiquette” and the impetus to multitask during video calls. This phenomenon, which is also common in distracted driving, is motivated by our tendency to stay active following boredom or perceived lulls in job performance.

Together, these circumstances lead to high levels of mental demand in the workplace which not only reduces productivity, but it also leads to greater muscle exertion and poor task performance.


Countering the effects

Research on Zoom fatigue is growing, but little is known on how to fight it or, even better, prevent it.

Human-machine interaction studies suggest that tracking one’s eyes or physiological state can help monitor the teleworker’s fluctuation in cognitive demand. This information can then be used to develop real-time Zoom fatigue detection algorithms, and alert the remote worker about its onset.

While the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health are still unknown, it is not too far-fetched to anticipate that should this issue not get promptly addressed, it will add onto the mental and physical burden that COVID-19 will have had on teleworkers, and the population as a whole.

As workplaces become more virtual and machine operations more remote, the need for a more cross-disciplinary approach that encompasses cognition, engineering and human kinetics is needed, now more than ever.

About the AuthorThe Conversation

Francesco Biondi, Assistant Professor, Human Kinetics, University of Windsor

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

You May Also Like


photo silhouette of mountain climber using a pick to secure himself
Allow The Fear, Transform It, Move Through It, and Understand It
by Lawrence Doochin
Fear feels crappy. There is no way around that. But most of us don't respond to our fear in a…
woman sitting at her desk looking worried
My Prescription for Anxiety and Worry
by Jude Bijou
We’re a society that likes to worry. Worrying is so prevalent, it almost feels socially acceptable.…
curving road in New Zealand
Don't Be So Hard On Yourself
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
Life consists of choices... some are "good" choices, and others not so good. However every choice…
Photo of Messier M27 nebula
Horoscope Current Week: September 13 - 19, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
man standing on a dock shining a flashlight into the sky
Blessing for Spiritual Seekers and for People Suffering from Depression
by Pierre Pradervand
There is such a need in the world today of the most tender and immense compassion and deeper, more…
Punishment or Divine Gift?
Is It Punishment or Divine Gift?
by Joyce Vissell
When tragedy, death of a loved one, or extreme disappointment strikes, do you ever wonder if our…
clear bottles of colored water
Welcome to The Love Solution
by Will Wilkinson
Picture a glass of clear water. You are holding a dropper of ink over it and you release a single…
Quick Vibe Fixes You Can Do At Home or Elsewhere
Quick Vibe Fixes You Can Do At Home or Elsewhere
by Athena Bahri
You are a remarkable being of energy, individual and unique in your own right. You have both the…
Are We Entering The Age of the Holy Spirit?
Are We Entering The Age of the Holy Spirit?
by Richard Smoley
The priests of the Age of the Father, whose job centered on sacrifice, would probably not have…
Learning To Communicate Honestly With Others: First Be Honest With Yourself
Learning To Communicate Honestly With Others
by Barbara Berger
What does it take to communicate honestly with other people? First of all, it takes knowing your…
On This Day, 9/11: A Painful Anniversary
On This Day, 9/11: A Painful Anniversary
by Marianne Williamson
None of us will ever forget where we were on 9/11, or how we learned about the attacks on our…


How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
by Barbara Berger
One of the biggest things I've discovered working with clients everyday is how extremely difficult…
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
by Sonja Grace
As you experience being an earth angel, you will discover that the path of service is riddled with…
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
by Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
According to most of the singles I have met in my travels, the typical dating situation is fraught…
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
by Lucy Delap, University of Cambridge
The 1970s anti-sexist men’s movement had an infrastructure of magazines, conferences, men’s centres…
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
by Glen Park
Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence…
Taking A Step Toward Peace by Changing Our Relationship With Thought
Stepping Toward Peace by Changing Our Relationship With Thought
by John Ptacek
We spend our lives immersed in a flood of thoughts, unaware that another dimension of consciousness…
Having The Courage To Live Life and Ask For What You Need Or Want.
Having The Courage To Live Life and Ask For What You Need Or Want
by Amy Fish
You need to have the courage to live life. This includes learn­ing to ask for what you need or…

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration



New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.