Zoom » Zoom | 91 EXP E RTS R ESPOND Imagine that you're walking through an office being followed every step of the way by a colleague holding amirror in their hands - which is why you spendmost of your time at work watching your own reflection. This sounds like the summary of some really exciting thriller - except the fact that it's not a bizarre scenario, rather it's a reality Doing business during the time of the COVID-19 crisis has normalised regular physically distanced meetings and video conferences that represent a „nonverbal overburden“ and lead to „Zoom fatigue“, according to the conclusions of a study by Jeremy Bailenson, professor of communications at Stanford University. His research (recently published in professional journal Technology, Mind and Behavior) outlines the aforementioned consequences of intensifying eye contact with others and confronting one‘s own reflection during longer videomeetings. „Decades of research by behaviourists show that whenwe look at ourselves - we carefully examine ourselves, assessing ourselves - and over time that causes stress and negative emotions,“ said Bailenson speaking to BBC Radio 4. „When we are compelled to look at ourselves in a video or mirror in real time, our instinct is to act like an idealised version of ourselves. In other words, we strive to be the best person we can be - but that comes at a price.When another person‘s face is extremely close to ours physically - the brain develops an intense reaction. What actually happens when you use Zoom for a few hours is that you are in a hyper-stimulated state that will exhaust you,“ claims Bailenson. People can communicatemuchmore harmoniously in person than is the case via video, but the regime of working from home caused Zoom to grow into a life-saving solution for many employers - because it is free, efficient and easy to use. The platform has become ubiquitous and its stockmarket value has almost quadrupled, but the negative sides of our psyche have bubbled to the surface, Bailenson suggests. IS ZOOM FATIGUE A MYTH OR REALITY? Tekst/Words: Ivan Radojčić Fotografije/Photography: iStock