How to overcome Virtual Attention Taxation — ‘Zoom Fatigue’

Trevor E Hudson
8 min readJun 7, 2020


It’s true. You have spent a long time wishing your employer could be a bit more flexible and now you’re doing it, you’re regretting praying to the IT Infrastructure Gods for so long.

The truth is two-fold. Firstly this isn’t just home-working Nirvana. This bullshit. I’m not only working from home, I’m homeschooling kids, sharing the space with 3 other people 24/7 and can barely leave the building. It feels tough and I know I’m lucky I have a garden and long country walks spitting distance away.

About a week ago I had a team meeting and we did the usual ‘How is everyone?’. I was expecting people to talk about feelings of isolation, lack of motivation and worries about getting unwell. But instead every just said “I’m really tired”, “Were meeting always this exhausting?” and “Can we just have less meetings?”

Aside from the inevitable exhaustion that comes with all of the changes we have been going through recently, video conferencing is tiring. Talking to relatives on FaceTime (other services are available) is tiring. Why? Our brains aren’t made for this.

The problem with video

The simple, unavoidable truth is even though we have adapted hugely as a society to the rapid change in our environment brought on by an equally rapid change in technology. This a behavioural and societal adaptation — not a biological one.

So what is it that makes the whole experience so challenging for our basically cave-man like brain? Anyone who has read the incredible and best-selling Sapiens will know we’re brilliantly adapted for human interaction — in fact it’s one of our most distinguishing features as a species. Yay us. But what happens when we then render something 2D that should be 3D and put it in a frame inches from our face?


It’s not just a bit unnatural it’s also that our brains are desperately trying to make sense of what is going on. If we’re used to it (i.e. if your company has been entirely remote for a long time) we have probably adapted our behaviour gradually over time. As a result we have learned, possibly unconsciously the right cadence of work and meetings, the right…



Trevor E Hudson

Leadership, wisdom and the new world of work.