Avoiding Zoom Burnout

With many students receiving classes via Zoom due to the ongoing need for social distancing, the issue of ‘Zoom fatigue’ or ‘Zoom burnout’ has become a real problem. Students find themselves unable to concentrate or participate effectively in classes held via video conferencing. Read below for some tips on how to combat the Zoom burnout!

As far back as 2008, there were reports emerging on the impact of video conferencing on focus and concentration. Even before the effects of COVID-19, it was reported in the scientific community that video conferencing induces a state of multitasking that makes deep focus very difficult.

A participant in a video call needs to maintain an acceptable amount of eye contact with others in the call, while at the same time processing their responses and thinking about how to reply. Taking place over a screen, some human conventions that make communication easier are not present. Think about how we use body language to put each other at ease when talking face-to-face.

So, students are suffering Zoom burnout thanks to the increased effort required to actively participate in classes via video conferencing. What can they do to help avoid this?

Tips for avoiding Zoom burnout

  • Focus on regaining concentration and relaxing between virtual classes. Take time to breathe, take note of your surroundings or even indulge in some light mindfulness. This will help keep your mind from racing and help you to ‘reset’ before the next virtual course.

  • Don’t worry about how you are perceived during a virtual class. Sometimes, a lot of Zoom burnout can stem from the fact that we are worried about how the other participants in the Zoom receive our contributions. Remember that a sound delay as small as 1.2 seconds can make it appear as if the person on the other end is not engaged in your contribution, or being rude.

  • Try the ‘speaker’ view instead of the ‘gallery’ view. This means that you will only see one speaker at a time. A simple tip to help you reduce the increased cognitive load involved with seeing 12 other faces at the same time.

  • Cut yourself some slack and focus on the class. Do not feel pressured to complete other work or reply to messages during the Zoom call. Put things on “Do Not Disturb” or “Airplane” mode to help minimize distraction. Try allowing yourself to put all of your attention on the class, and you should be feeling a little more relaxed.

  • Get up and move around a little. There’s nothing stopping you from stretching off and walking around a little to regain your composure during a Zoom class—or even standing for a portion of the class.

Remember that the past year has not been ideal for anybody, and Zoom classes will not be the future of education. Teachers and students alike cannot wait to return to face-to-face learning! If you can take some steps to reduce your Zoom burnout, you will find yourself having a more pleasant time until things can return to normal.


Jack Vale is a writer from Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with AdvanceOnline, an online health and safety training provider.

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