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Workers who regularly use video conferencing apps for meetings suffer from more fatigue: NTU study

SINGAPORE — A study has confirmed what many people working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic suspected: increased use of video conferencing apps such as Zoom can lead to more fatigue. Seeing yourself on screen is part of the problem, he found.

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) found that almost half of workers surveyed felt fatigue from video conferencing, and their fatigue levels increased as the number of online meetings increased in a day. .

The survey, conducted in December 2020 when most of the country was working from home, found that 46.2% of respondents said they felt tired or overwhelmed by using video conferencing apps.

The study’s lead researcher, Benjamin Li, from NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, said the results showed a clear relationship between frequent use of video conferencing apps and fatigue among Singaporean workers.

“Our findings are even more relevant in today’s environment, as the use of video conferencing tools is here to stay due to flexible working arrangements which is an ongoing trend,” he added.

Researchers analyzed responses from a commissioned online survey of 1,145 full-time workers in Singapore — citizens, permanent residents and a small proportion of foreigners — who frequently used video conferencing apps.

On average, these respondents spent about three days working from home in a typical week and spent about nine hours working each day.

In addition to the frequency of use of these applications, other factors such as the number of hours worked, their income level or their age had a weaker association with videoconferencing fatigue, the researchers found.

And while other previous studies have shown that video conferencing fatigue is worse for women, who may face more anxiety seeing their face constantly due to societal norms about a woman’s appearance. the NTU study suggested that these norms may not be as prevalent in Singapore compared to Western cultures.

The findings were published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Computers in Human Behavior Reports. The study was co-authored by Assistant Professor Edmund Lee, Assistant Professor Edson Tandoc and Researcher Goh Zhang Hao


Compared to physical meetings, video conferencing significantly increases the amount of eye contact and can cause workers to experience stress and social anxiety, the researchers said.

This is because meeting participants who stare at their screen tend to look like they’re looking into your eyes, even when you’re not speaking.

When workers turn on their webcams and can see themselves on the screen, it can also lead to what researchers call “mirror anxiety,” stemming from the self-awareness of seeing themselves.