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Videoconferencing Fatigue

  • Inpatient Telepsychiatry During COVID-19
  • Ed Kaftarian, M.D.
  • Videoconferencing ("Zoom") fatigue is due to spending most of the day on videoconferencing calls, and often makes people feel sluggish or disinterested in their meetings.
  • Staring at a computer screen all day long can be tiring—whether it's videoconferencing or just working at the computer; however, videoconferencing fatigue involves a sense of always being "on" and performing for the camera. Constantly ensuring that you look and sound OK to the other party can be fatiguing.
  • Dealing with technical difficulties—like poor internet connectivity or problems with the audio-video technology being used—also contribute.
  • Reasons for fatigue cannot be wholly attributed to videoconferencing. Clinicians can also experience fatigue in a traditional care setting. Doing the same activity for many hours in a row can be exhausting, even if it’s something that you find interesting. Being in front of a camera all day without breaks may exacerbate this.
  • Taking frequent short breaks between patients (get some fresh air, some exercise, or clear your mind) can help to refresh you and mitigate the effects of videoconferencing fatigue. Also, turn-off your self-view once you've established that you are appropriately represented on the patient's screen so that it does not preoccupy you during the session; but, check it periodically to ensure that it is still a high-quality image.

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