Let’s be honest: after a week of web conferencing at work, how excited are you really about hopping on a social video call Friday afternoon?
If your answer is “not very,” you’re not alone.
Virtual meeting fatigue is backed by science. A Microsoft study found that “brainwave patterns associated with stress and overwork were much higher when collaborating remotely than in-person.”
Put simply, remote collaboration is harder than in-person collaboration. These stress patterns were also higher when participating in video meetings compared to writing emails, and high levels of fatigue began setting in about 30-40 minutes into a virtual meeting.
Despite the challenges of virtual meetings, they remain a popular solution, especially for remote teams. The advantages of virtual meetings include:
However, these advantages come at a cost.
The disadvantages of virtual meetings include:
Fortunately, many of these challenges can be overcome with thoughtful planning and flexible virtual meeting guidelines.
There are a few things you can do to address and reduce virtual meeting fatigue.
Perhaps most importantly, the final thing you can do to reduce virtual meeting fatigue is to spend less time looking at your screen. Whether this means switching to audio calls and chats when possible or scheduling virtual-meeting-free hours and days into your calendar, do what you can to turn down unnecessary video calls.
Additionally, take time every day to get up from your desk and walk around as you would in an on-premise workplace. Virtual meeting fatigue isn’t just about screen time—being sedentary for long stretches plays a role, as well. Try to work exercise into your day and take breaks to stretch, snack, and tend to personal needs.
After a pandemic full of extra web conferencing, we’re all a little tired of screen time. With a little boundary-setting, however, it is possible to reclaim your energy. Keep meetings short, and trade video meetings for phone calls or chats whenever possible. Practice using features like screen sharing and speaker view instead of grid view, making sure all attendees are on the same page.
Finally, don’t hesitate to turn off your camera if you need to. Virtual meetings have become a fixture of our professional and personal lives for at least a little while longer. The best thing we can do for ourselves and our energy levels is be realistic about how much time we can reasonably spend on-screen.
Sometimes it seems like we ought to have a meeting. But, in reality, there's a better way to communicate the updates or make the decision. Tackle Zoom fatigue and take the interactive quiz below.
Video conferencing is here to stay. Here's how to run the best virtual meetings possible.