Spending too many hours per day on Zoom? Finding Zoom calls far more draining than phone-based conference calls and face-to-face meetings? Yes and yes for me, and I’ve been experimenting to try and figure out how to overcome Zoom Fatigue.
Over the summer (and before the unbreathable smokey air showed up), I took pleasure in any meeting that was by phone rather than Zoom, as that let me get up, go outside, and walk around while talking. I’ve done hours of calls like that, and I don’t find them anywhere near as draining as Zoom.
I did take the laptop outside for Zoom on occasion, but the difference wasn’t outside vs. inside, especially here in Seattle where we open all the windows in the summer.
Maybe the difference is the camera? I’ve had plenty of overseas calls where the internet is poor and thus we leave the video off. That does seem to make a difference on Zoom Fatigue, but calls with video feel more real, and thus the solution isn’t to go audio only.
Instead, I think I stumbled upon the solution while clicking around all the “…” menus searching for hidden features of Zoom. I think the answer is “Hide Self View”
I found this in the three dot menu on the top-right corner of my selfie video, to the right of the blue Mute button. See the above screen shot from my notebook. As expected, this makes the the video of me disappear. Or specifically, it shows me in Speaker view but hides me in the Gallery view.
That simple change makes a big difference to the feel of a Zoom call. On a two person call, it makes it feel much more like a face-to-face meeting, as the only video I’m viewing is the other person. On a multi-person call, it makes it feel more like we’re all in the room together.
Could it be that simple? Could it be that the technical equivalent of speaking into a mirror is the difference between Zoom Fatigue and the more general Meeting Fatigue?
Try it yourself and post in the comments if you see the same improvement.