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HRE’s number of the day: virtual meeting overload

Here’s how many employees say too many virtual meetings is bad for mental health—and what it means to HR leaders.
By: | June 8, 2020 • 2 min read


38: Percentage of employees who say a full week of virtual meetings leaves them feeling exhausted

A full week of virtual meetings leaves 38% of employees feeling exhausted, while 30% feel stressed, according to Doodle, a scheduling tool company. Doodle surveyed more than 1,100 full-time and part-time employees in the United States across a diverse set of industries.

What it means to HR leaders

Employers and HR leaders are trying to best understand how to manage and connect with their remote workers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Virtual meetings have become the norm for many companies, but experts warn that an overload of such meetings is hurting employee mental health, leaving them more exhausted and stressed.

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Corporate leaders may want to come up with—or embrace—other ways to connect with employees. That may include a variety of mediums—emails, text messages, instant messages and phone calls, Amy Leschke-Kahle, vice president of performance acceleration for the Marcus Buckingham Company, an ADP company, said recently during the American Payroll Association’s Annual Congress event, held virtually.

Related: How to engage workers during ‘the new normal’

Also, rather than constant virtual team meetings, leaders may benefit from one-on-one connection during this time. Frequent and brief one-on-one check-ins—weekly is best—between team leaders and team members are key in general, she said, but more so during the pandemic. There is a way to do it successfully and ensure it’s not a “check-up,” which by contrast focuses on tasks and makes workers feel micromanaged. Check-ins have to be thoughtful, brief and recognize employees’ hard work. “These are one-on-one, strengths-based conversations about near-term future work.

“Historically we teach team leaders we need to have these big, long conversations,” Leschke-Kahle said. “But it’s about super-short, light touches.”

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.

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