Virtual Meeting Fatigue

May 5, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shift from in-person meetings to an abundance of virtual meetings. While this technology is fantastic and allows us to still maintain “face-to-face” connection, there are certain drawbacks as well. Have you ever finished a virtual meeting and felt exhausted? Felt much more worn out after a virtual meeting than you would after an in-person meeting? You are not alone, and there are a few reasons behind this.

 

1. Communication Disconnect

 

During video calls, we need to focus much harder to process non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. It is much more difficult to “read the room” and adjust our own behaviors accordingly. Conversations do not flow as naturally over video calls, as it is much more common to have people speaking over one another or have unusual pauses in the conversation.

 

 

2. Technical Errors

 

 

Poor internet connections, lags, and dropped calls can cause meetings to last much longer than initially expected. Experiencing technical errors can lead to feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and add another layer of stress to the meeting.

 

 

3. Multitasking

 

 

While participating in a virtual meeting, it is much easier to multitask, such as checking emails or doing additional work in another window. This causes our brain to be working twice as hard to concentrate and leads to overload.

 

 

4. Self-Reflection

 

 

Seeing ourselves in the camera while in a meeting adds additional pressure of focusing on our own appearance. We are much more aware of how we appear to others, which may lead to feelings of self-consciousness or anxiety.

 

 

Now that we understand the reasoning behind why we may be feeling tired following a virtual meeting, we should do our best to avoid excessively scheduling virtual meetings. Avoid scheduling multiple virtual meetings back-to-back, giving yourself a short break to recharge in between meetings. Try to schedule shorter meetings, or build in breaks during longer meetings. Turning off your video if you are feeling fatigued may help, and communicating over email or regular phone call when possible can also prevent lethargy. Most of all, it is important we give ourselves a break during these times -  we are all doing the best we can!  

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