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Retirement Starts Today Radio

Benjamin Brandt wants to teach you how to retire! Listen in as Benjamin Brandt CFP©, RICP© answers the questions on the minds of the modern retiree, often joined by the top experts in the retirement planning industry. Ask Benjamin a question here: https://retirementstartstodayradio.com/ask-a-question/
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Apr 5, 2021

If you’ve been working from home over the past year you may wonder why you feel even more exhausted than normal. This could be due to Zoom Fatigue.

In this episode, we’ll explore an article from CNBC that references a Stanford study about this phenomenon. In the listener questions segment, I’ll answer questions about RMDs and Roth conversions. Let’s get to the bottom of your exhaustion--press play now. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:22] Zoom fatigue affects people on a psychological level
  • [3:26] Solutions for Zoom fatigue
  • [6:17] Future tax rates and RMDs
  • [10:44] How to pay for Roth conversions?

Why are we so exhausted after video conferencing?

Over the past year, many of us have been using Zoom and other video conferencing applications to replace in-person meetings. The constant video conferencing has led to increased fatigue at the end of the day and a researcher with Stanford University wondered why. Jeremy Bailenson researched this issue and recently published a paper about how video conferencing affects people on a psychological level. 

4 reasons for Zoom fatigue

Jeremy concluded that there are four different contributors to Zoom Fatigue:

  • The extended level of eye contact is unnatural. The screen causes us to look at each other for an extended period of time. In a face-to-face meeting, we wouldn’t be behaving in such a way.
  • Non-verbal signals during video conferences require more effort than in-person meetings. During in-person meetings, our nonverbal cues happen quite naturally and without any effort. However, we have to exaggerate our non-verbal communication in a video chat which requires more thought and increases our cognitive load
  • Watching yourself in the little box on the screen for prolonged periods is unnatural and causes self-critique. 
  • Being forced to sit still in one place for long is exhausting. Since we are on camera we have little room to move around naturally. 

Ways to battle Zoom fatigue

To alleviate these issues, Bailenson has the following tips:

  • Hide self-view. 
  • Shrink the participant’s video window to make other people a bit smaller. 
  • Spend some time adjusting your setup ahead of an important meeting. 
  • Turn off your camera and take a five-minute audio-only break during a long meeting.
  • Set cultural norms in your workplace that it’s OK to turn off the camera sometimes.

Zoom fatigue is a new version of burnout that is important to mitigate. You want to retire when you are ready rather than because you are feeling burnt out due to video conferencing. Try using these tips to help you combat the exhaustion you feel after video conferencing. 

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