Addressing virtual meeting fatigue

3 June 2020

Since we all started working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all had to make the switch from in-person meetings to the virtual kind. From daily team catch ups, client meetings and project updates, to keeping in touch with friends and family, it seems like we’re moving from one video call to the next these days, resulting in virtual meeting fatigue.

While there may have been an increase in the number of meetings we’re now having, there’s another reason why we’re finding virtual meetings so exhausting.

Video chats are more challenging than real-life meetings

Video calls require more focus as it’s more difficult to interpret body language and other non-verbal signals. Add to that the challenges that the technology brings with it (like poor internet connection and sound issues), those awkward silences and higher levels of self-consciousness, and you have a recipe that even the best of us will find exhausting.

No wonder we’re all worn out!

So how do we address video call fatigue?

Firstly, we need to accept that a lot of the underlying stress that coronavirus pandemic and social distancing has created has a role to play in this mental exhaustion we’re experiencing. That aside, there are some simple ways we can reduce the effects of virtual meetings:

  • An obvious one, but try not to schedule too many meetings for your team – ask yourself, would an email or phone call be a better option?
  • Keep meetings as short as possible.
  • Don’t feel obliged to attend social video gatherings with colleagues.
  • Turn off your camera for some of the meeting if appropriate.
  • Take breaks from your screen and try to avoid back-to-back meetings where possible.

Video conferencing is here to stay. Even with the gradual reopening of workplaces, keeping a physical distance will be necessary for the foreseeable future, and so the better we deal with this type of fatigue, the better our mental wellbeing in the long run.

For more on how tomorrow’s workplace is changing, visit the Tétris COVID-19 hub