Exploring the Impact of Virtual Meetings on Cognitive Performance and Active Versus Passive Fatigue | Journal of Occupational Health Psychology

Workforce Trends

As workers utilize various video chat platforms (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) to connect virtually with colleagues, I’ve shared research studies analyzing the effects of this communication channel on various outcomes, such as the energy levels of meeting participants and feelings of burnout. One study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology titled The Fatiguing Effects of Camera Use in Virtual Meetings: A Within-Person Field Experiment, explored how camera usage during virtual meetings contributes to fatigue. Results show: 1) when people had cameras on or were asked to keep cameras on, they reported more fatigue than their non-camera-using counterparts. 2) The effects of fatigue were more substantial for women and employees newer to the organization. This study challenges conventional thinking that suggests cameras heighten engagement levels in virtual meetings. In a recent study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, findings suggest that sleepiness during virtual meetings is caused by mental underload and boredom (rather than mental overload), resulting in a decline in cognitive performance. These and other studies can be used to guide practices on when the use of virtual meetings is optimal and when they are not.