Future of work

Zoom fatigue's impact on extroverts vs introverts

Many have been experiencing Zoom fatigue as our brains are on overdrive during Zoom meetings, but the causes the solutions differ between introverts and extroverts. On Zoom, introverts suffer from intense interactions while extroverts don't receive their level of craved social reward.

Kathleen Huang


The rising problem: Zoom fatigue - Though remote working provides its fair share of benefit, its downside - Zoom fatigue - is well known. 

What is Zoom fatigue? - Many workers are experiencing tiredness, worry, and burnout that is associated with the usage of virtual platforms.

Symptoms of Zoom fatigue - These symptoms can be physical or emotional; but both can have a negative effect on a worker’s efficiency and productivity.

The science behind Zoom fatigue - Opposed to in-person collaboration, communication via video calls will lead to the brain being overworked.  

Impact on introverts - Video conferencing offers virtual interactions for introverts, but it also requires more focus than a face-to-face chat.

Impact on extroverts - Video conferencing  provides some level of social interactions, but not the same level of rewards that extroverts crave.

What can businesses do - It is important for businesses to learn and adapt; to make virtual communication a tool instead of a restriction. 

Our take - Everything has its benefits to an extent, by integrating different tools and making use of their merits, companies are able to communicate efficiently.

The state of the workplace 2023

Following the pandemic, hybrid or remote work has emerged as the “New normal”.

More specifically in the workplace, as digital communication accelerated during the pandemic, it has become a bedrock in the future of work. According to upward’s 2022 report, 40.7 million American professionals, nearly 28% of respondents will be fully remote in the next five years, up from 22.9% in  the last survey conducted in November 2020.

Thanks to remote working, you no longer have to spend hours battling the commute; or for some, even get out of bed in the morning! Yet, after a day at work and virtual meetings from the comfort of your home, you feel more exhausted than ever.

Zoom fatigue has been one of the most popular and searched terms ever since the pandemic and the launch of remote working. According to Benefits Canada, the majority (80 percent) of U.S. remote workers say they’re experiencing some level of “Zoom fatigue”.

As remote working will be a significant part in the future of work, introverts and extroverts will need to understand one thing: how best they can embrace remote work.

Therefore, understanding how online meetings affect your productivity has never been more important. 

But what exactly is Zoom fatigue? How is Zoom fatigue impacting introverts and extroverts? And more importantly, how do you combat Zoom fatigue? Though the causes and solutions for Zoom fatigue differ for introverts and extroverts; in this blog, we will be exploring and answering these questions from the perspective of both introverts and extroverts. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know.

What is Zoom fatigue?

Following the rapid growth in the usage of video conferencing throughout the past few years, the pain point of remote working has  surfaced - Zoom fatigue.

This is when many workers experience tiredness, worry, and burnout due to the usage of conferencing software such as Zoom video.

Despite the name of this phenomenon, video conferencing software can take forms from Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet to Microsoft Teams. Regardless of the application used, it is often reported that these sets of symptoms follow prolonged usage of video conferencing.

What are the symptoms of Zoom fatigue? 

Emotional symptoms

  • Feelings of exhaustion and burnout
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Social detachment and difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Pessimism
  • Anger
  • Forgetfulness and concentration difficulties
  • Lack of motivation
  • Frustration and irritability

Physical symptoms

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Low productivity

The science behind Zoom fatigue

According to an article published by Microsoft, remote collaboration is more mentally challenging than in-person collaboration. Why? Brainwave patterns are associated with stress and overwork and become significantly higher during remote collaboration opposed to in-person collaboration. 

A similar finding was reported: brain patterns are much higher in Zoom calls when compared to non-meeting work such as writing emails. Furthermore, due to high levels of sustained concentration required in meetings, fatigue tends to set in every 30-40 minutes, while stress begins to set in at about two hours into the meetings (Microsoft).

According to a study published by Stanford, the four main factors that lead to fatigue are listed and explained: from the close-up eye contact, constantly seeing self-reflection, the lack of mobility, and the cognitive overload caused by video conferencing.

An image showing the four causes of Zoom fatigue: Excessive eye contact, reduced mobility, constant reflection, cognitive overload

The four key causes of zoom fatigue 

1) Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact

Close-up eye contact is required to stay engaged in a video conference. On top of that, we are often presented with unnaturally large-scaled faces on monitor screens. Both factors put strains on our brains. This is because our brain naturally associates intense eye contact and closed-up faces with a lack of personal space and potential conflict.

Moreover, in traditional in-person meetings participants look at the speaker. In zoom conferences, however, the listeners are treated as nonverbal speakers, with constant eye contact shared between everyone. Therefore, when using zoom, these factors combined push the brain to a hyper-aroused state. And with prolonged usage, it can largely contribute to what is called Zoom fatigue.

2) Constantly seeing yourself during video chats 

Most video conferencing applications show a square of what you look like during Zoom calls. Though we may not think much of it, the constant view of our reflections also subconsciously contributes to the stress of videoconferencing.

It’s proven that negative emotional consequences can arise when seeing yourself in the mirror for an extended period of time. Needless to say, what this can impose on employees who are experiencing this for hours on end during zoom calls.

3) Video chats reduce mobility

There are hundreds of studies that show a positive correlation between movement and cognitive performance - the increase in movement is associated with increase in cognitive function. Whilst in-person conversations and meetings allow the speaker to move around and walk, this is not an option for video conferencing.

Naturally, the decrease in movements caused by work-from-home or in extreme situations - hours of zoom calls - can negatively impact work performances and employee motivation.With the lack of motivation and energy, fatigue accompanies. 

4) Higher cognitive load during video chats

Unlike face-to-face interactions, video conferences offer limited non-verbal communication.

Normally, these nonverbal communications are cues that help us interpret gestures and body language, which is essential for us to efficiently understand and communicate with each other.

With the lack of which, it leads to our brains having to constantly go into overdrive to compensate for this lack of information. Ultimately, this can also be a leading factor to the energy drain.

An image showing a lady on a video chat experiencing Zoom fatigue as limited non-verbal information can drain energy

Zoom fatigue’s impact on introverts

Benefits of using video conferencing for introverts:

Typically, introverts tend to enjoy more time to themselves, are very aware of their internal thoughts, and recharge more in solitude. Therefore, being able to use videoconferencing to virtually interact with co-workers might not be such a bad idea for them.

Researchers found that those who thrive in face-to-face gatherings - ones with extraversion - are not necessarily the strongest in digital settings.

The opportunity to interact virtually, from a distance may allow introverts to build relationships slowly in a less threatening social environment.

Drawbacks of using video conferencing for introverts:

In addition to these existing difficulties that we all face with video conferencing, introverts often have to undergo layers of extra challenges.

Videoconferencing, like most of their group activities, “don’t play into this introverted strength,” says Orozco. “Plus, because it’s much harder to understand when someone is done talking on a video call, an introvert who needs to pause and collect their thoughts as they talk may struggle with being frequently interrupted, adding to the frustration and overwhelm of group video calls.”

How introverts can overcome Zoom fatigue:

- Use asynchronous communication when possible as this allows you - regardless of your personality being extroverted or introverted - to take a break from Zoom’s    information override on your brain.

- Hide your self-view. Staring at yourself - especially for introverts as this may make them more self-conscious and– can make the video conferences extra draining.

- Minimize the size of your Zoom screen on the monitor. By doing so, the figures speaking with aren’t too close-up, minimizing the excessive eye contact. 

- Set your device at a distance that enables you to move around during calls. 

- If it is a big meeting and video presence is not required, turn off your camera to give yourself an audio-only break.

- Use asynchronous communication where possible. 


 Image showing a happy team of employees around a table overcoming zoom fatigue through measures like asynchronous communication.

Zoom fatigue’s impact on extroverts  

Extroverts can be just the opposite to introverts. Extroverts are often more outspoken, and outgoing. Their extraversion is linked to sensitivity to social rewards. Extroverts crave stimulation, drawing their energy from being with others. And the lack of which, can cause the negative effects of Zoom fatigue to hit extroverts even harder. 

Benefits of using video conferencing for extroverts:  

Despite the working circumstances, video conferencing offers extroverts a platform to engage in social interactions virtually with co-workers to feel less isolated.

Zoom meetings can also imitate settings and feelings of in-person meetings to an extent; creating collaborative settings where extroverts are able to contribute with enthusiasm and high energy.  

Drawbacks of using video conferencing for extroverts:

Though video conferences provide the social interaction aspects that extroverts crave, but “Zoom'' does not provide the same visceral feedback as a live conversation. This will make it less satisfying [for people with extroversion]" says Roger McIntyre, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of Toronto.

Experts also say that because extroverts miss the visceral feedback, the body language and visual cues that come with in-person conversations, they will use more energy on interpretation.  This causes them to “[use] more focus and not likely get the same reward”. Ultimately, causing the draining and fatiguing feelings after Zoom calls. 

Extroverts, just like introverts, can also feel drained after a few hours of video conferences. The cause, however, differs. Zoom fatigue for people with extraversion usually arises when they must just sit and passively listen and not communicate with others.

How extroverts can overcome Zoom fatigue:

- Use asynchronous communication when possible as this allows you - regardless of your personality being extroverted or introverted - to take a break from Zoom’s    information override on your brain.

- Use full-HD video quality with larger monitors and superb sound to create an immersive  and conversational experience.

- Use an extensive library of 3D backgrounds and AR filters to make Zoom more interesting and less draining.

- Communicate and get energy from people and co-workers in other methods such as synchronous communication - music sharing - or asynchronous communication -    responding to threads on Slack.  

How businesses can overcome Zoom fatigue

Cutting down on unnecessary meetings:

Though working remotely may lead to a lack of trust between the management team and team members, micromanagement and excessive amount of Zoom meetings will only facilitate zoom fatigue and do more harm than good.

This is because the excessive number of meetings will then lead to a series of events: employees becoming stressed, less productive, and decreased physical and emotional well-being.

It was also found that meetings increase the likelihood of people committing errors during a task, because they miss or repeat important components. And in one survey, 65% of workers said that meetings keep them from completing their work. 

At Omnifia, we trialled an async week to reduce internal meetings. We found we got into a deeper state of work, had more thoughtful conversations, amongst other things. 

Below, we have gathered a few tips to cut down on unnecessary meetings

Setting time limits for meetings

Given high levels of sustained concentration, fatigue begins to set 30-40 minutes into a meeting, you can allow employees to take regular breaks between long meetings to let their brain recharge.

Another tip by limiting meetings to 30 minutes or punctuating long meetings with small breaks when possible.

Improve knowledge discovery

Zoom meetings are often conducted for project updates or requests for knowledge that’s already contained across multiple apps. This makes it hard for teams to discover and meetings are scheduled to discover information. One way to improve knowledge discovery could be through using more asynchronous communication in day to day communications. Communication tools like Slack allow you to see your conversation threads from multiple different chats, facilitating easy knowledge .

Slack dashboard that uses threads to instantly pick up current and previous conversations, improving knowledge discovery, which reduces zoom fatigue.

Utilise async meetings

Asynchronous meetings have the same objectives as a synchronous meeting, but the way in which they are set up differ. In an async meeting, the relevant team members will be invited into the discussion space, there will be a set goal for the meetings and an agenda. 

Staying organised 

Create and send out meeting agendas with the purpose of the meeting and outline the topics that will be discussed. By doing so, not only will you limit the number of meetings to the ones that are necessary as well as the time so that it does not become draining for employees.

Our take on combating Zoom fatigue: Streamlining remote work for efficiency and satisfaction

At Omnifia, we tackle Zoom fatigue by optimising remote work to create engaged and productive teams. As a predominantly remote team, we prefer an async-first approach, focusing on asynchronous communication to give team members the flexibility to manage tasks at their own pace. This reduces the stress of constant real-time interactions.

We also value synchronous communication but keep it limited to short, focused bursts. Our online meetings are intentionally brief and well-structured, with a clear agenda to ensure productivity. This approach cuts down on time spent in long meetings, effectively reducing Zoom fatigue.

Transform remote work with people analytics

Are you looking to streamline your remote work and combat Zoom fatigue? Discover how our people analytics software can transform your team's engagement and productivity. Get early access and start spending your valuable time on what you love most. 

Click here to schedule a call with our experts and get a comprehensive understanding of your people's issues with a consultation and complimentary report. 

We're curious to hear your thoughts on Zoom fatigue. Have you experienced it, and how have you managed it? Are there any tips we've missed? Feel free to share any insights with us.