Remote work video meetings: Workers’ emotional exhaustion and practices for greater well-being


Leadership, Management & Business


German Journal of Human Resource Management: Zeitschrift für Personalforschung

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Meeting science literature provides a foundation for understanding workplace meetings as a source of stress. However, a new form of worker stress, “Zoom fatigue,” quickly emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic when organizations rapidly adopted video meetings for remote work-from-home. We sought to understand workers’ perceptions about video meeting experiences and how they relate to their sense of emotional exhaustion. Additionally, we were curious about what workers might see as ways to make video meetings less tiring and more beneficial. These insights could inform practical solutions for leaders and organizations to reduce the stress and resulting emotional fatigue related to video meetings. This mixed-methods study, based on survey data collected in August 2020 from 345 workers at a cross-section of U.S.-headquartered organizations, provides evidence of worker experiences related to video meeting stress. The quantitative and qualitative results show that workers feel psychologically depleted by video meeting load, an excess of load needed to do their job, video meetings that are not beneficial to them, video meetings that conflict with the time and energy needed to perform their other job responsibilities and fulfill their home responsibilities, and the perceived necessity to surface act. The data show these factors relate to diminished well-being in the form of emotional exhaustion. Participants’ qualitative responses corroborate the results and suggest supportive practices related to planning and inclusion and supportive interaction that can ease video meeting exhaustion