How to Reduce the Negative Effects of Online Meetings - Docket

How to Reduce the Negative Effects of Online Meetings

After more than two years of staring at a computer screen, people that work within remote and hybrid models are getting exhausted. The struggle of constant online meetings—and actually paying attention in these meetings—can be overwhelming for those in the modern workforce. 

As of 2021, we have heard much more about the hybrid work model, defined as working both from home and the office. A Gallup poll found that 53% of people predict a future of fully hybrid workplaces, and 83% believe in considerable hybrid workplace benefits.

Despite the benefits, the draining negative effects of virtual meetings can still have a significant impact on us. Keep reading to find out some best practices that members of the remote and hybrid workforces can use to combat these physical, mental, and social risks.

Create Agendas for Shared Preparation

Virtual meetings are hard enough to prepare for and navigate through with creating meeting links, controlling mute buttons, and facing a screen of face-less names. One way to alleviate stress is by creating an agenda beforehand to help your meeting run smoothly. 

Knowing what you will be talking about—and sending your schedule out to your meeting guests, so they’re on the same page—can improve communication and lessen anxiety on both sides. 

Platforms like Docket make agenda creation as easy as possible with a variety of templates and the ability to create collaborative agendas with all meeting participants.

Set Objectives for Each Meeting

Creating a list of objectives can improve the flow of your meetings and allow for smooth transitions between subjects. It is crucial that meeting attendees understand what each meeting will be about, and the easiest way to ensure this is by setting expectations long before everyone clicks “Join Meeting.”

This smooth communication between all parties will allow you to accomplish more work during set meeting times. Remember, the more efficient meeting leaders and participants are, the faster the meeting will go! Setting objectives helps prevent meetings from dragging on unnecessarily and gets everyone off the call quicker.

Share Videos Throughout Your Virtual Meetings

Talking over a screen for an extended period of time, as well as listening for this period of time, can lead to boredom and a decreased attention span. Sending out instructional videos instead of sharing your screen can maintain worker concentration throughout these meetings.

Along with keeping attention, videos are an easy way to provide information in a way that distracts the brain from multitasking and creates visual cues for the eye. 

Empower Team Members to Speak Up

Business leaders need to assure their employees of the power their opinions have. When a meeting’s subject matter doesn’t seem necessary or urgent, it is vital that a team member feels they can bring up the idea of canceling or moving the meeting. 

Everyone has their limits when it comes to the hybrid work model, and empowering team members is one of the first steps to creating a thriving hybrid workplace.

Adjust the Meeting Depending on its Subject Matter

Some meetings will require technology and tools such as PowerPoints, statistics/data visualization, and videos. However, with more casual meetings, you may find that team members are more engaged when the environment is relaxed and conversational.

Additionally, stepping away from the computer and meeting in a neutral place, like a park or restaurant, can help company morale and create connections between employees that wouldn’t be achieved through a strictly virtual environment. The social benefits of a hybrid workplace model are found in these informal outings and check-ins.

Use Platforms that Encourage Focus

In a Microsoft study, tracking software found that in 30% of company meetings, people were sending emails while attending. In the same study, they found that 4 in 10 participants were multitasking during virtual meetings.

Excessive virtual meetings in the hybrid work model can be mentally draining and lead to increased multitasking of employees, which is often stressful in and of itself. Using platforms that collaborate with one another to increase participants’ focus, such as Docket and Zoom, can decrease multitasking and the adverse mental effects it may have on employees.

Reduce Meeting Headcount to Only Necessary Personnel

Over time, virtual meetings can add up until employees are completely exhausted. Sometimes these meetings aren’t even necessary for certain workers. A helpful practice is limiting the headcount at each meeting to only those required for its objectives. 

With this method, meeting updates can be sent to all team members afterward regarding what was accomplished, helping to include those who cannot make it to every meeting or aren’t directly involved in the project.

Final Words

Despite the many benefits that come with remote and hybrid workplaces, there can also be detrimental effects on mental, social, and physical health. The workforce as we know it has been transformed by the pandemic and will likely continue shifting towards the hybrid work model for the foreseeable future.

Therefore, it’s vital to the well-being of every leader and employee to keep these practices in mind as they attempt to reduce the negative impacts of virtual fatigue.

Thriving in a hybrid or remote workplace can be difficult, but there are tools out there to help. Take a look at the meeting-enhancing features Docket offers, and spend a moment thinking about what would make your organization’s meetings better!

About the Author

Sarah Jones

With an educational background in psychology, linguistics, and French studies, Sarah enjoys researching and writing about marketing, current events, positive global change, and holistic health. When not creating content, her time is spent outdoors with a book in hand.

Related Content