Why Online Meetings Are Exhausting

why online meetings are exhausting

There are a variety of reasons why online meetings are exhausting. Here are some of them: Zoom fatigue, Eye contact, Multitasking, and Distracting backgrounds. All of these factors increase the likelihood that participants will feel tired and frustrated. Here are some ways to minimize or eliminate the stress of online meetings.

Zoom fatigue

There is a growing literature on the subject of Zoom fatigue. Its existence suggests that the fatigue that occurs during video conference meetings is related to both objective characteristics of the meetings and subjective experiences. Fortunately, there is a conceptual framework for the problem that helps us understand its causes and potential remedies.

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Eye contact

Online meetings can be draining, especially for people who have to look at a computer screen and are far away from one another. Eye contact is essential to establishing rapport and making important points, and it can help you develop executive presence. But many people who participate in online meetings find this difficult. Luckily, there are ways to make eye contact easier in these settings.


The most common reason why people are unproductive is multitasking. This type of behavior requires extra mental energy and will make you feel frazzled and less productive. Therefore, it is crucial to minimize this activity. The best way to reduce this is to stay focused on one task at a time.

Distracting backgrounds

The visual clutter of distracting backgrounds in online meetings can make it difficult to focus on the subject matter. If you are using video conferencing tools like Zoom, you may want to choose a background that is neutral or uncluttered. Alternatively, you can use a virtual background such as a wall, if possible. You should also try to avoid facing a large room to avoid visual distractions.

Length of meeting

One of the biggest drawbacks of online meetings is that they are often too long. A study by Microsoft shows that people start to lose focus and become tired after about 30 minutes. To avoid this, keep meetings short. You’ll be able to keep your employees’ attention by focusing on just the most important information. If you need to go over more information, you can always follow up later by sending relevant documents or resources.

Face-to-face communication

One reason for this exhaustion could be the inability to communicate face-to-face. Face-to-face meetings are very different from video conferences. In a face-to-face meeting, participants rarely look into each other’s eyes. In contrast, video conferences require participants to stare into one another’s eyes throughout the entire meeting.

Pre-meeting rituals

Most leaders go into their meetings “cold.” Rather than engaging their team in a pre-meeting ritual, they simply go into the meeting “off.” But, just as Broadway performers go into a show “on,” they can benefit from a pre-meeting ritual, too. A ritual before a meeting can help a leader be at his or her best when engaging with the team.

Phone calls

In many ways, online meetings are exhausting because the people involved are so far apart and their body language can’t be read over the computer screen. There are several ways to avoid this, but back-to-back calls are a difficult challenge. If possible, schedule your meetings to last between 25 and 50 minutes. This will allow you time to move around and have a more productive meeting. If possible, you should also turn off your camera while on a video call.


If you’ve tried participating in online meetings but found them to be too stressful, you’re not alone. There are numerous reasons why email meetings are draining. They’re impersonal and have a negative impact on our attention, productivity, and emotions. And they can also make us more stressed because they lead to more meetings. This is not good for anyone, especially those who’re trying to focus on their job.