Also associated with Zoom fatigue was personality types: 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.

Age mattered as well: Younger individuals reported higher levels of tiredness compared with older survey participants.

Another factor was race: The researchers’ preliminary data shows that people of color reported a slightly higher level of Zoom fatigue compared with white participants. The researchers are exploring what contributed to this finding in a follow-up project with scholars, including their Stanford colleagues, who study race and media.

“We are working to understand what might be causing this race effect and develop solutions to address it,” Hancock said.

Next steps

While individuals can make changes to their own work habits to avoid burnout, the researchers urge organizations to rethink how they manage their remote workforce. For example, companies could organize more meetings that are video-free, offer guidelines on how frequent and long meetings should be and specify more breaks between meetings.

The paper’s contributors include joint first authors Geraldine Fauville, who was a postdoctoral scholar in the lab when she conducted the research and is now a researcher at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Mufan Luo, a doctoral student in the Stanford Social Media Lab. Anna Carolina Muller Queiroz, a visiting research student at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, also contributed along with senior authors Jeffrey Hancock, the Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication, and Jeremy Bailenson, the Thomas More Storke Professor of Communication.