Media Tip Sheet: How Leaders Can Mitigate “Zoom Fatigue” in the Workplace

November 29, 2023

laptop on a desk in a home office

A new study finds the phenomenon of ‘Zoom fatigue’ may have an effect on the brain and heart, according to The Washington Post. Zoom fatigue is often referred to as the tiredness, worry or burnout from overusing online communication tools, like the video conferencing platform Zoom. The small study found a connection between videoconferencing in educational settings and physical symptoms linked to fatigue.

GW's N. Sharon Hill

Sharon Hill is an associate professor of management at the George Washington University School of Business. Her primary research area focuses on virtual work, seeking to understand both the positive and negative implications of virtuality at work in different types of virtual work arrangements (e.g., virtual teams, telecommuting, hybrid work) as well as the role of leadership in promoting effective work outcomes and employee well-being in virtual settings. Hill’s latest research papers have specifically explored how virtual work impacts employee well-being both positively and negatively as well as the key behaviors that make an effective leader in a virtual work environment.

Hill says there are a number of things managers and workplace leaders can do to mitigate Zoom fatigue.

“’Zoom fatigue’ is definitely a phenomenon leaders have to be aware of and take steps to minimize. First, avoid defaulting to Zoom and other forms of videoconferencing when it is not needed. For example, one-way information sharing does not necessarily require a Zoom call; text-based communication, such as email, is often better-suited to this type of communication task,” Hill says.

“Second, Zoom call participants experience less fatigue when they feel engaged so use strategies to actively involve meeting participants—e.g., break out groups, online polling, participation in the meeting chat, etc. Finally, avoid ‘marathon’ meetings. For longer meetings, take regular breaks and consider whether some of the activities can be done offline as input to the meeting—e.g., submitting ideas in written form to the meeting facilitator ahead of time for consolidation and discussion during the meeting.”

If you would like to speak with Prof. Hill, please contact GW Media Relations Specialist Cate Douglass at [email protected]