Meetings May Be Causing Burnout or Reduced Engagement in Your Employees

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Managers and supervisors have had to creatively engage their teams throughout the pandemic. For many teams, regardless of on-site or remote work, this has meant more meetings and more on-camera time. Prior to the COVID outbreak, researchers from University of Minnesota - Duluth and University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill (2005) found that "daily negative outcomes from having more meetings" can compound causing many impacts including "low satisfaction ... and even turnover." A more recent Stanford (2021) study finds that excessive video meetings can contribute to work stress by creating intense "close-up eye contact," critical self-assessment associated with constantly "seeing ourselves on video chats,"  limited mobility (we must remain fairly still to be seen consistently and without distraction in video meetings), and increased cognitive workload in order to "interpret gestures and nonverbal cues." 
Try the some of following meeting solutions in order to support the wellbeing of your team members - 

  • Encourage employees to stand up and move around during meetings. This may require adjusting cameras if your team meets regularly via video. 
  • Talk to your employees about the numbers of meetings they attend and whether (or not) these meetings are helpful, effective, and/or critical to their performance. Help them bow out of the unnecessary meetings that may be contributing to their stress or burnout. 
  • Invite only critical participants to a meeting; use the 'optional' feature on calendar invites to indicate that you are inviting someone for their awareness but that this is a meeting they can 'sit out'. 
  • Analyze your desire for efficiency and whether this is effective for your employees. If you are inviting your entire team to a meeting 'just in case' they may be needed or so you can ensure time with everyone on the team, be honest with yourself about whether or not various employees are really necessary to this particular meeting or need the information that will be presented at the meeting; if appropriate, indicate that their attendance is optional.  
  • Understand who the critical meeting attendees are PRIOR to sending out the invitation; only invite those who are needed for the discussion, decision-making, or to determine next steps. 
  • Ask your employees about their meeting load and support their efforts at appropriately reducing time spent in meetings. 

Luong, A. & Rogelberg, S. (2005).  Meetings and More Meetings: The Relationship Between Meeting Load and the Daily Well-Being of Employees. Accessible at
Ramachandran, V. (2021). Stanford researchers identify four causes for 'Zoom fatigue' and their simple fixes. Accessible at
Additional meeting tips and strategies to help you support the wellbeing of your employees -

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