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Are Virtual Meetings More Stressful Than In-Person Ones?

  • Survey by VPNOverview finds the anxiety levels generated by virtual and in-person meetings are comparable
  • More than one-third of respondents say the majority of their video calls could have been resolved through e-mail
  • Scheduling breaks and turning off the camera are strategies that have helped reduce stress related to video calls

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Video conferencing creates stress levels similar to those experienced by workers meeting in person, according to recent research by the cybersecurity site VPNOverview. The study also found that some simple steps can help reduce the fatigue sometimes associated with video calls.

In its survey of 1,009 people, VPNOverview found that 39 percent of respondents were very anxious before in-person meetings and 38 percent were very anxious before virtual meetings. Respondents were less anxious about conducting interviews or leading presentations virtually, but slightly more anxious about group meetings or virtual presentations led by others.

  • 1 in 6 respondents reported feeling very fatigued after virtual meetings, with higher level employees more likely to report stress
  • 49 percent said they spend three to 10 hours a week on video calls, with 44 percent spending two hours or less on these meetings
  • 35 percent said more than half of their video calls could have been e-mails
  • Respondents were most likely to experience stress due to the inability to change position (24 percent), overall anxiety (18 percent), or too much screen time (17 percent)
  • Workers were most likely to say their fatigue with video calls would ease if they were able to turn off their camera when possible (27 percent), schedule gaps between calls (25 percent), or take breaks during meetings (21 percent)

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