HRE’s Number of the Day: video meeting fatigue

A handful of workers find virtual meetings inefficient and exhausting. Here’s what that means for HR leaders.
By: | November 30, 2020 • 2 min read


38%: Percentage of workers who say they’ve experienced video call fatigue since the start of the pandemic

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A new study by global staffing firm Robert Half shows video calls may be wearing on workers. More than three-quarters (76%) of professionals surveyed say they participate in virtual meetings, and those respondents report spending nearly one-third of their workday (30%) on camera with business contacts or colleagues. Meanwhile, 38% say they’ve experienced video call fatigue since the start of the pandemic; 26% note that the practicality and novelty of videoconferencing has worn off over the past eight months; and 24% confirm they find virtual meetings inefficient and exhausting and prefer to communicate via other channels, like email or phone.

What it means to HR leaders

With COVID-19 prompting a massive work-from-home model, employers and HR leaders have tried to best understand how to manage and connect with their remote workers. Virtual meetings have become the norm for many companies, but experts warn that an overload of such meetings can hurt employee mental health, leaving them more exhausted and stressed.

“Video calls became the go-to way for professionals to connect, collaborate and build rapport at the start of the pandemic,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. “While effective in some instances, they can be draining in others and are best used in moderation.”

See also: When the office goes, what happens to culture?

Robert Half recommends that, for video calls, managers set expectations from the get-go, make sure the technology works and limit the guest list, as small groups tend to be more effective and engaged.

Corporate leaders may want to come up with—or embrace—other ways to connect with employees.

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“Workers are busier than ever and strapped for time,” McDonald says. “Before setting up a video call, always determine the goal and if it can be accomplished via other means.”

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Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.