Zoom — Lionesses of Africa

by Liz Creates 

The majority of the world is sitting at home. No more cubicles. We can’t check in physically with colleagues. Now we are glued to screens in the comfort of our own homes. Our boundaries between work and home have disappeared somewhat. Enter: digital fatigue, a state of dis-ease many of us have experienced over the last year during Covid-19. Is digital fatigue the latest buzz-phrase, or is it a real illness shared by the collective currently?


Digital fatigue is defined by Dan Adika, CEO of WalkMe, as: “a state of mental exhaustion and disengagement that occurs among people who are required to use numerous digital tools and apps concurrently.” During this time where we are required to stay home, how many digital tools are we balancing, without the disconnection from these tools that we are used to? How much social media are we using to stay connected during a time when we are physically disconnected from each other?

Social media exhaustion is playing a major role in our digital lives. As Korunovska and Spiekermann (2019: 12), researchers on the subject of digital fatigue, describe, we are “always reachable and non-anonymous” through social media, creating a state of stress and often times emotional exhaustion. The authors continue to state, that in addition to always being “switched on”, we might not realise the overwhelming amount of information we consume through social media, in turn leading to further exhaustion. 

Interestingly, it is only becoming more severe as our addiction to being “switched on” is growing. During Covid-19, more energy thieves have come to play, with one thief surprising us all: Zoom fatigue. Who would have known that Zoom could be the cause of our fatigue? Quite the opposite, many might have thought that working from home, using Zoom would be easier, right? Video calls in pyjama bottoms (business at the top, and home party at the bottom), bring ‘em on!

Alas, no. Zoom fatigue is real and here is why according to Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy (Harvard Business Review, 2020):

  1. In in-person meetings, if we missed something, we could rely on our peers to inform us of missed information; whereas in a Zoom meeting we have to be more attentive and focussed, as no one is next to us filling us in. We can’t slack on Zoom calls.

  2. Furthermore, we can get easily distracted on Zoom calls, due to the disconnect and distance between members on the call that technology brings. In person, connection is easier – the person is right in front of you. Whereas on Zoom, there is a screen, a camera, physical distance, the odd disconnection and delays caused by internet connections, not even to mention the distractions at home that could interfere (how many parents are amongst us?). As we get easily distracted, there is more pressure and guilt to be “switched on” and listen more intensively than in in-person meetings.

  3. Moreover, there is a big energy thief hiding behind Zoom that is unexpected: the constant intensive gazing… This level of gazing into a camera or screen is not natural for us. No wonder we are tired and feel taxed after multiple Zoom calls!

What can we do to action steps against digital fatigue? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. The first step is becoming aware of our boundaries. We have to relearn how to embrace healthy boundaries that ensure our vitality. If we aren’t aware of boundaries, how can we put actions in place to combat digital fatigue?

  2. Daily digital downtime. Are you forcing downtime from digital? Are there a few hours in your day that you can spend doing something other than browsing social media or watching television?

  3. Lastly, digital detoxification. If you are on the verge of burnout, you might benefit from a prolonged period of digital downtime.

  4. The Marie Kondo approach. Marie Kondo is a magician when it comes to decluttering – she encourages getting rid of items that don’t spark joy. The same can apply to digital tools. If it doesn’t spark joy, perhaps it is time to unfriend or even delete the app that is causing the pain.

Now more than ever, self-care is of vital importance. Take it easy and remember that we are in a period of extreme change. Don’t let digital fatigue overwhelm your life. Instead, try to live harmoniously with technology that is there to better our lives.





Source link

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *