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Workplace Culture

Yup, looking at yourself on video all the time can get exhausting

Meghan McCarty Carino Mar 1, 2021
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"When you look at yourself, you evaluate yourself. And evaluating yourself for eight hours a day is not good," said Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. LeoPatrizi via Getty Images
Workplace Culture

Yup, looking at yourself on video all the time can get exhausting

Meghan McCarty Carino Mar 1, 2021
Heard on:
"When you look at yourself, you evaluate yourself. And evaluating yourself for eight hours a day is not good," said Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. LeoPatrizi via Getty Images
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Zoom has become so ubiquitous in the past year that we’re using it as a verb. The videoconferencing platform, reporting quarterly results later today, has also spawned the term “Zoom fatigue.”

That’s a real thing, according to new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining?

After spending hours a day at a virtual conference recently, Chicago biologist Becca Weinberg had some insights. “I never feel energized on Zoom,” Weinberg said. “But what it does feel is more depleting.”

Weinberg said it makes social interactions awkward, and she feels too self-aware.

Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab said there’s a reason for that. “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up,” he said.

Bailenson said the default display on many programs makes faces appear closer than we’re used to, with unavoidable, sustained eye contact that can be unnerving.

Not to mention being constantly confronted with our own faces. “When you look at yourself, you evaluate yourself. And evaluating yourself for eight hours a day is not good,” he said.

Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing. He also reminds people that just because they can use video doesn’t mean they have to.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.

U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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