Motivation and emotion/Book/2022/Video conferencing fatigue

Video conferencing fatigue:
What is video conferencing fatigue, what causes it, what are its consequences, and what can be done about it?


Figure 1 - People attending video conferencing meeting

Videoconferencing (VC) is a type of online meeting that allows individuals and groups to engage in real-time multi-directional audio-visual communication from the same or another location, region, or even country. VC is commonly used for communication and collaboration within and between organisations, businesses, and educational institutions, but it is also used privately with family and friends (Döring et al., 2022). The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has hampered social mobility, forcing billions of people worldwide to replace face-to-face communication with virtual meetings. Zoom, Microsoft Teams,Skype and Cisco Webex have become trendy choices for video conferencing and virtual meetings, with very high adoption rates in 2020. (Bennett et al., 2021). Technology consumers began discussing video conference fatigue, a potentially new phenomenon of feeling exhausted after participating in a video conference.

In this chapter, we define "videoconferencing fatigue" as the experience of fatigue during and/or after a video conference, regardless of the specific VC tool used (see Figure 1). We will also use the famous "Zoom fatigue" synonymously with the more generic title "video conference fatigue."


Focus questions:

  1. Does video conferencing increase productivity?
  2. Why are video conferencing meetings so tiring?
  3. What are the ways to recognize video conferencing fatigue?
  4. Are there ways to deal with video conferencing fatigue?

Video conferencing fatigue


“The formula was simple: E + F + C = M. That is, excitement plus fatigue, plus confusion equals mistakes.” ― Rutledge Etheridge, Agent of Destruction



The COVID-19 pandemic has induced a boom in both private and professional videoconferencing in the early 2020s that elicited controversial public and academic debates about its pros and cons. One main concern has been the phenomenon of video conference fatigue.

Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom, claims to have suffered from Zoom Fatigue. According to the Times, Yuan once had 19 video call meetings back to back. While we may or may not have had 19 meetings in a row, we can all relate to the burnout feeling experienced after videoconferencing throughout the day (Volkwyn, 2022).


Figure 2 - Person showing signs of burnout

Videoconferencing fatigue has a variety of symptoms (Riedl, 2021). Some of these symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Eye strain
  • Forgetfulness
  • General tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Mental fatigue
  • Muscle tension
  • Worry

Many of these symptoms overlap with burnout symptoms ( See Figure 2). According to Durmuş et al., (2022), digital burnout is caused by spending too much time on digital devices (Computers, Smart phones , Tablets etc) when involved in video conferencing. It's interesting how the symptoms of digital burnout overlap, causing negative physical, spiritual, and social consequences.


  • Personal factors
  • Technology factors
  • Organizational factors
  • Environmental factors

Zoom exhaustion and fatigue (ZEF) scale


The 15-item Zoom Exhaustion and Fatigue (ZEF) scale by Fauville et al., (2021) answerable on a 5-point Likert scale.It asks questions about a person’s general fatigue, physical fatigue, social fatigue, emotional fatigue and motivational fatigue.The survey considers things like how much time you spend in meetings, demographic information, and the symptoms you experience. The goal of this research is to eventually influence how we use video software in the future to better focus on our well-being.

Videoconference fatigue score has the following subscales

  • General
  • Visual
  • Social
  • Motivational
  • Emotional

In addition ,zoom exhaustion and fatigue scale also has relationship with psychological distress, life satisfaction, and academic well-being,ZEFS scores were significantly and positively associated with anxiety, depression, and stress, and negatively associated with life satisfaction and academic well-being, supporting the scale's concurrent validity.

Psychological distress


Incremental validity of the ZEFS was explored via mediational models, where Zoom exhaustion and fatigue predicted (a) psychological distress that in turn predicted life satisfaction, and (b) psychological distress that in turn predicted academic well-being.

Life satisfaction


ZEF score negatively correlate with life satisfaction.These robust validity and reliability scores indicate the ZEFS to be a valuable tool in assessing Zoom fatigue as well as predicting other variables such as mental well-being and life satisfaction.

Academic well-being


Videoconference or Zoom fatigue is real and may have unpleasant consequences on academic well-being.  The results from the study revealed that self-reported academic performance was associated with and predicted videoconference fatigue. Those who reported low academic performance experienced higher fatigue levels.

Causes of video conferencing fatigue


Video conferencing fatigue is a real thing that people experience when doing remote work, but it can be challenging to identify the symptoms. Feeling exhausted and drained after your video conferencing calls is one of the most apparent signs of Video conferencing fatigue. These are just a few of the symptoms of Video conferencing fatigue.

  1. Eyestrain
  2. Reduced mobility
  3. increased cognitive stress
  4. Mental stress

Consequences of video conferencing fatigue


Video call fatigue can make otherwise content people anxious and may increase anxiety levels in those already experiencing such feelings.Video call fatigue can cause people to feel overwhelmed when they would not usually, leading to increased tiredness and even exhaustion.

Linking video conferencing fatigue to variables


Video conferencing fatigue affects some individuals more than others.Since the pandemic started, employees and students alike are complaining of Zoom fatigue, that exhausted feeling after a day of online meetings or classes.  However, a new study has found that Zoom fatigue may not impact everyone in the same way.

Figure 3 - Women suffering from Zoom Fatigue

Video conferencing fatigue and gender


The researchers found that the gender difference in feelings of exhaustion was rooted in men's and women’s different responses to looking at themselves on the screen.Study by found that overall, one in seven women – 13.8 percent – compared with one in 20 men – 5.5 percent – reported feeling “very” to “extremely” fatigued after Zoom calls (See Figure 3).

Video conferencing fatigue and personality types


Introverts reported higher levels of exhaustion than extroverts following video conferencing, younger individuals had more exhaustion than older individuals, and people of color reported a slightly higher level of fatigue than white participants.Extraverts reported lower levels of exhaustion following video conferencing than introverts. Calm, emotionally stable people also reported less exhaustion than more anxious individuals, who may also have been affected by the self-attention triggered by the digital mirror.

Video conferencing fatigue and age


Younger individuals reported higher levels of tiredness compared with older survey participants.

Video conferencing fatigue and race


The researchers’ preliminary data shows that people of color reported a slightly higher level of Zoom fatigue compared with white participants.

Beating video conferencing fatigue


There are several ways that people can try to limit video call fatigue, as follows:

Limit video calls


Limit video calls to only those that are necessary.It can be tempting to turn everything into a video call to try to mimic working in the office, but often this can cause more harm than good. If a meeting can take place via a phone call or even email, people may find these options less tiring. Video calls may not always be the most efficient option, and people should keep this in mind when scheduling meetings or wanting to share information.

Build in breaks


People need to make sure that they are scheduling in regular short breaks away from the computer, and between video calls when they are working from home. Multiple video calls in a row without any sort of relief between can cause tiredness and make someone feel plain fed up.

Have smaller conference calls


Having fewer people in each call can mean that each person has more time to speak. When there are too many people all trying to speak at once, it can end up with nobody being able to get their points across. This can cause frustration and irritability. It also means that the meeting can feel like a waste of time.

Establish rules


Setting guidelines, such as everyone having to mute their microphones when they are not speaking, can help keep things running smoothly.



Video calls are a useful way of keeping in touch with friends, family, and colleagues without having to physically be in the same location.Too many video calls can lead to someone experiencing video call fatigue, however.It is essential for people to ensure they are not letting video calls have a negative impact on their mental health.

It is important to remember that a video call is not the same as an in-person meeting and for everyone to work together to navigate these new sets of social norms.

Recognizing Video conferencing fatigue and treating it is very important – you are no good if you are burnt out. Please don’t ignore it and let it build up; try the above tips to combat Video conferencing fatigue. And, if all else fails, take a break from Video conferencing entirely! If you’re experiencing it, so are others.

Making the switch to remote work is taxing enough, and the added stress of Video conferencing fatigue will only make your mental health and quality of work suffer. Therefore, the most important thing to remember is to listen to your body and know when enough is enough.

See also



Bennett, A. A., Campion, E. D., Keeler, K. R., & Keener, S. K. (2021). Videoconference fatigue? Exploring changes in fatigue after videoconference meetings during COVID-19. Journal of Applied Psychology, 106(3), 330–344.

‌Döring, N., Moor, K. D., Fiedler, M., Schoenenberg, K., & Raake, A. (2022). Videoconference Fatigue: A Conceptual Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(4), 2061.

Durmuş, S. Ç., Gülnar, E., & Özveren, H. (2022). Determining digital burnout in nursing students: A descriptive research study. Nurse Education Today, 111, 105300.

Fauville, G., Luo, M., Queiroz, A. C. M., Bailenson, J. N., & Hancock, J. (2021). Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale. Computers in Human Behavior Reports, 4, 100119.

Riedl, R. (2021). On the stress potential of videoconferencing: definition and root causes of Zoom fatigue. Electronic Markets.

Volkwyn, M. (2022). How to avoid Zoom fatigue in 2022. InEvent Blog.




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