zoom fatigue

Beat Zoom Fatigue: Strategies to Elevate Your Virtual Meetings

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a profound transformation in how we work, with remote and hybrid models becoming the new norm. As organizations have adapted to this shift, the reliance on virtual communication platforms, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, has surged dramatically. While these tools have enabled us to maintain productivity and collaboration from the safety of our homes, they have also given rise to a concerning phenomenon: virtual meeting fatigue, also known as zoom fatigue. 

What is zoom fatigue?

Zoom fatigue is the feeling of exhaustion or tiredness that often occurs after attending a series of video conferences, regardless of the platform used. This fatigue can manifest in various forms, such as irritation, a persistent sense of tiredness, and difficulty concentrating on tasks or meeting content. Here are several key factors that contribute to the rise of virtual meeting fatigue.

Cognitive Strain: The cognitive strain of maintaining focus, navigating digital interactions, and interpreting limited non-verbal cues during prolonged video conferences can be mentally taxing. 

Sustained Eye Contact: The requirement to maintain eye contact in virtual settings through the camera feels more intense and unnatural, leading to increased self-consciousness and mental fatigue over extended periods. 

Reduced Mobility: Virtual meetings are sedentary, with limited opportunities for movement and natural transitions, which can lead to physical discomfort, restlessness, and a sense of mental stagnation. 

Increased Multitasking Temptation: The ease of multitasking in the virtual environment, with constant switching between tasks and the inability to fully focus, can lead to cognitive overload, reduced engagement, and contribute to overall virtual meeting fatigue. 

Effective leadership strategies to combat zoom fatigue  

As the number of remote and hybrid work arrangements continues to increase, addressing virtual meeting fatigue has become a pressing concern for leaders and their teams. Employees who experience this fatigue may find it increasingly challenging to maintain productivity, creativity, and overall well-being, which can have far-reaching implications for both individual and organizational success. 

To create more energizing virtual meetings, leaders must implement innovative approaches that address the underlying causes of Zoom fatigue. By implementing practical solutions, leaders can empower their teams to thrive in the new world of work. 

Encourage selective use of camera 

Leaders should be mindful that while cameras can enhance engagement in virtual meetings, the constant visual focus and self-consciousness they create can also contribute to fatigue. A study suggests that the feeling of being “watched” on video calls makes people more conscious of their expressions and appearance, leading to mental exhaustion that can discourage active participation. 

To address this, leaders should consider allowing attendees to disable their cameras during certain portions of the meeting. This can help alleviate the strain of sustained eye contact and self-monitoring, allowing participants to re-energize and engage more freely. 

Hold brief, targeted meetings 

Schedule meetings for no more than 50 minutes instead of the typical 60-minute session. This small reduction in meeting length can greatly impact avoiding the exhausted, worn-out feeling that frequently arises during extended video conversations.  
For longer meetings, try utilizing the Pomodoro technique as well. This entails dividing the meeting into 25-minute concentrated segments, with a 5-minute intermission. If your team meets for longer than an hour, include lengthier (15–30 minute) breaks so that they may recover physically and mentally. By structuring meetings this way, you can maintain engagement and productivity while allowing your employees to step away and rejuvenate.  

Schedule a no-meeting day 

Set off a day each week when you don’t schedule any meetings. This trend of having meeting-free days is catching on in many organizations. For example, HSBC and Citi have introduced “Zoom-free” days, while companies like TikTok and Salesforce limit daily video meetings. Research from the University of Reading shows that offering one or two meeting-free days can increase employee satisfaction by nearly 50 percent and reduce stress by up to 43 percent. This approach enhances work autonomy and overall well-being. 

Adopt a disciplined approach 

To ensure meetings are efficient and productive, it’s crucial to manage the size of the meeting effectively. Provide a clear, succinct agenda that outlines what topics will be addressed beforehand. This not only sets expectations but also helps attendees stay focused during the meeting. When it comes to deciding who should attend, be very selective. Aim to keep the attendee list minimal, including only those whose input is vital for the meeting’s objectives. This approach helps minimize distractions and keep the discussion on track. 

For those attending who are not scheduled to present or lead a discussion, implement a rule limiting their input to brief contributions—ideally no longer than two minutes. This practice ensures that the meeting remains focused and time-efficient while still allowing valuable input from a wider group.  


These were just a few strategies to combat Zoom fatigue and revitalise our approach to virtual meetings. We all understand that meetings are a staple in the professional world and they’re not disappearing anytime soon. However, incorporating these techniques can transform these interactions into more productive, engaging, and less tiresome experiences. The goal is to ensure that every participant feels energized and valued, ultimately helping employees thrive in a virtual environment.  

Nidhi Singh