Stanford Study Reveals ‘Zoom Fatigue' Worse for Women Than Men

Research showed women feel more pressure to stay in the frame

NBC Universal, Inc.

In the past year, many people in the Bay Area have became a lot more familiar with Zoom or some other video conference service.

Whether it's used for work or to keep in touch with family, it’s now a part of almost all our lives.

According to a new Stanford University study, it is also exhausting for anyone who uses it.

Along the Embarcadero in San Francisco, NBC Bay Area’s Christie Smith asked people about how much time they now spend on video conferences.

Nearly everyone Christie Smith talked to said it’s clear that the so-called “Zoom fatigue” is real and according to research from Stanford, it’s hitting women harder than men.

“It’s pretty pervasive but more so for women, the big question is why?” said Stanford Professor Jeff Hancock.

Hancock is a professor of Communication and is also the co-author of the study that looked at the impact of our time on-screen.

“The biggest predictor of it is a digital mirror," he said.

"We have a self-view right now. I'm looking at myself as well as looking at you and that digital mirror distracts us and it turns out that digital mirror distracts women more. They are more likely to attend to that and that gets us thinking, how do I look? How do I come across?"

Over time, that can cause negative emotions including a lot of anxiety.

Research showed women feel more pressure to stay in the frame. They also tended to have longer meetings with fewer breaks and were more often handling topics related to home or childcare responsibilities.

So what can someone do to combat that Zoom fatigue?

“Women can turn off that self-view on Zoom,” Hancock said. “Zoom is one of the best technologies because it allows you to turn off the self-view."

Companies can implement policies to help including shorter meetings or banning video calls on some days.

“My company instituted a meeting- free Friday. So, on Fridays there are no meetings,” said Natasha Degan. Degan added the changes at her job have offered relief.

"I’ve actually started to turn my camera off just to give myself a break,” she said.

The study also found extroverts and those with a sense of calm reported less fatigue too.

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