Zoom fatigue by the numbers: A new poll looks at video conferencing engagement


Many companies are relying on video tools to enable remote collaboration and communication. However, a new poll shows that many aren’t paying attention.

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Image: iStock/nensuria

Due to the coronavirus, organizations have been forced to shift from the traditional office to the digital workforce on short notice. The transition to telecommuting has had mixed results for organizations. Regular daily and weekly stand-up meetings have been replaced with scheduling blocks filled with video conferences and virtual whiteboard collaboration sessions.

It’s often difficult to fully replicate the feel and collaboration of an in-person meeting on a limited video conferencing platform. This has led to a type of virtual meeting burnout commonly referred to as “Zoom fatigue.” A recent anonymous poll takes a closer look at video conferencing participation, engagement, and more.

Recently, on Blind, a popular anonymous network for professionals, a user-submitted poll was curated to gauge general engagement on video calls. The poll titled, “How engaged are you in most work meetings?” was submitted by an engineer at a VMware. More than 4,600 users responded to the poll, and 6,123 provided additional commentary on their personal experiences during these meetings.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

The poll was accompanied by a video and a caption stating: “I am often very silent in #Zoom meetings.” The video depicts the person in a chair who appears to be asleep. Overall, the results paint a negative view of overall employee engagement during video calls.

One-in-five professionals reported that “they are actively listening and providing live feedback.” More than one-quarter (26%) said that they were “doing other stuff” during the meeting and “simply listening for their name” to be called. More than one-quarter (27%) reported that they are “trying to pay attention, but often zoning out.”

The site allows you to post as an anonymous employee at a given organization. This allows the poll to effectively gauge online meeting engagement across companies and industries. For example, only 10% of Blind professionals registered as Intel Corporation employees “claim they are actively listening and providing live feedback.”

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Overall, Blind users employed at eBay appear to have the highest levels of engagement, with about one-third (33%) reporting that they were actively listening during meetings. Conversely, about one-third of users listed as Amazon employees reported that they were “often zoned out in meetings.” More than half of Capital One employees similarly claimed to routinely zone out in meetings.

Nearly one in two (43%) of Cisco respondents selected the “doing other stuff, listening for my name” option, compared with 7% of company employees who were actively listening to others and providing feedback.

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