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How to Prevent Virtual Meeting Fatigue

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With the news that the new flexible working regulation will come into effect on 6th April 2024, employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements from day one of employment and it is more important than ever to keep employees engaged.

However, a study from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has revealed that virtual meetings can provide low stimulation, contributing to overall virtual meeting fatigue and exhaustion in individuals.

Distance learning provider DLC Training, which has made a successful business from online learning, has established key ways to keep all online attendees, whether at work or in education, engaged and motivated.

Learning and development expert Neil Finegan believes that the key ways businesses and learning institutions can ensure all online meetings are stimulating for their attendees are:

Set goals or an agenda

“Structured learning or understanding what to expect from a virtual meeting can help keep attendees engaged. Instead of allowing their minds to wander and contemplate when the meeting is over, the structure offers manageable chunks of time and allows for a more efficient meeting.”

Encourage interactivity

“Sitting and listening can only be engaging for so long, offering discussion opportunities, questions and answer sessions or even breakout rooms for group work keeps those on the meeting active and involved, which is much more engaging. You could also make the most of the chat functions available on lots of video call platforms for those who may not want to publicly speak.”

Varied content

“Death by PowerPoint is still a thing, even in virtual meetings. Try to keep the content being used on meetings or online lessons varied, consider videos, and quizzes, reduce the amount of words needing to be read by the audience and prompt conversations where possible to keep the topic or agenda interesting.”

Visual aids

“Think fewer words and more imagery. Keep visual aids prompt and to the point to allow those attending the meeting to effectively digest the points of the meeting and to keep their focus on the aims and outcomes. Humans are like magpies, they like pretty things to keep their mind interested and this works on keeping them engaged virtually, too.”

Scheduled breaks

“Shorter meetings are best whether virtual or not. However, where long virtual meetings are unavoidable ensuring to schedule regular breaks and encouraging people to stand up, stepping away from their screen and refresh is key. This will, again, make time feel more manageable and will keep all the senses awake during meetings.”

Consider if a meeting is necessary

“The final thought is to consider if a meeting is necessary or if, instead, queries can be solved via email, Slack or Teams. While virtual meetings are an integral part of creating a culture remotely, unnecessary meetings can negatively impact workers and reduce motivation and engagement so the fewer the better.”

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