One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom anxiety has become a major problem as more people adapt to remote working.
Whilst tools like Zoom, Teams and Hangouts have been vital in keeping organisations connected throughout the pandemic, the widespread adoption of video calling has brought its own set of challenges.
Many people feel unnatural and awkward when having to speak on camera, and for some, the pressure of having to perform so frequently on work video calls has lead to the rise of ‘Zoom anxiety' - a physical feeling of panic when called upon to talk on video.
According to new research from Buffalo 7, 73% of people have suffered from Zoom Anxiety over the last 12 months, with a 180% increase in Google searches for Zoom Anxiety between March 2020 and Dec 2020.
The survey, of 2066 people who work from home, found 76% of people said they found that video calls made them more anxious than telephone calls, while 48% found them worse than face to face meetings.
The survey revealed 42% of people found presenting was the task causing the most anxiety, while 83% said having tech/audio problems and not knowing how to fix them was their biggest Zoom Anxiety trigger, and 67% said not being able to read caller's body language caused anxiety.
Furthermore, 56% said feeling like you're being unheard caused anxiety, while 41% said being put on a call without having time to prepare your appearance caused stress. Thirty four percent said they worried about their background looking unprofessional.
The Biggest Triggers of Zoom Anxiety
“Of course, 2020 wasn't short on anxiety, and we've all had a lot to deal with," says James Robinson, marketing manager at Buffalo 7.
"However, with a huge 73% of respondents saying they've struggled with Zoom anxiety at some point over the past 12 months, it's clear that for many video calls bring with them their own set of challenges," he says.
“Everyone is struggling this year, and if you do suffer from Zoom Anxiety, look to discuss your problems with your boss, or follow the steps we've set out," says Robinson.
"For example, some of these issues come down to confidence - so if you are struggling with tech, could you put aside some time beforehand to learn about common problems, so you're not caught out when they happen on calls?
“We're all under a lot of stress recently, and the worst thing you can do for yourself and for your colleagues is add extra pressure on yourself. Always remember - you're doing great!