Stanford University Study Finds Women Suffer “Zoom Fatigue” Far More Than Men

With the pandemic forcing many Americans to retreat into their homes, video calls and meetings have become commonplace for faculty and college administrators. Now, new research from Stanford University reveals that the shift from in-person meetings to virtual ones has taken its toll, particularly among women.

The feeling of exhaustion that comes from a day of back-to-back online meetings – also known as “Zoom fatigue” – is greater for women, according to the researchers’ data. They found that overall, one in seven women compared to only one in 20 men reported feeling “very” to “extremely” fatigued after Zoom calls.

Researchers surveyed 10,322 participants in February and March using their “Zoom Exhaustion and Fatigue Scale” to better understand the individual differences of burnout from the extended use of video conferencing technologies during the past year.

The researchers found that what contributed most to the feeling of exhaustion among women was an increase in what social psychologists describe as “self-focused attention” triggered by the self-view in video conferencing. That prolonged self-focus can produce negative emotions, or what the researchers call “mirror anxiety.”

The researchers urge organizations to rethink how they manage their remote workforce. For example, organizations could hold more meetings that are video-free, offer guidelines on how frequent and long meetings should be, and specify more breaks between meetings.

The full study, “Nonverbal Mechanisms Predict Zoom Fatigue and Explain Why Women Experience Higher Levels than Men,” may be downloaded by clicking here.

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