What is it about?

Fatigue in virtual meetings stems from mental underload and lack of stimulation, potentially harming cognitive performance afterward. We highlight the role of work engagement in preventing this fatigue and explain why it affects some knowledge workers more than others. With the rise in virtual meetings, these findings emphasize the risk to mental energy and cognition, emphasizing the importance of strong work engagement.

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Why is it important?

Our study underscores the potential drawbacks of virtual meetings, especially as organizations increasingly adopt remote work. A high volume of meetings, particularly virtual ones, can deplete employees' energy throughout the workday. To address this, managers should encourage limiting meetings to only necessary ones and prioritize face-to-face interactions when feasible. Face-to-face meetings offer advantages like real-time interaction, flexible conversation, and rich non-verbal cues, which help keep participants engaged and energized compared to virtual meetings.


I expected to find that people get stressed in remote meetings. But the result was the opposite – especially those who were not engaged in their work quickly became drowsy during remote meetings. Our findings suggest that walking and other automated activities can boost your energy levels and help you to concentrate on the meeting. But if you're trying to focus on two things that require cognitive attention simultaneously, you can't hear if something important is happening in the meeting. Alternatively, you have to constantly switch between tasks. It’s really taxing for the brain.

Niina Nurmi
Aalto University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Virtual meeting fatigue: Exploring the impact of virtual meetings on cognitive performance and active versus passive fatigue., Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, October 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/ocp0000362.
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