Why Virtual Meetings Are Tiring — And It’s Probably Not Why You Think

Andy Hab
3 min readNov 27, 2023

You wrote about virtual meetings a few day ago — how is this different?

Yes, indeed, I wrote on recent research that showed that the social part of our brains responds differently to virtual and in-person meetings. Basically our social brains are less engaged and this ties in to this recent research into fatigue in virtual meetings.

Don’t we get fatigued because we have too many virtual meetings that are too long?

That is the general assumption — or that it is do with focusing on a screen rather than real people. There has been a lot more research into virtual meetings since the pandemic began. One piece at the start showed how not taking a break between meetings led to higher stress levels. As many of us know we can have multiple back to back meetings virtually with only very short breaks — not ideal from a brain functioning point of view. But then again that can also happen with in-person meetings.

The answer is different through.

Don’t keep me in suspense. Why then?

What Niina Nurmi and Satu Pakarinen of Aalto University in Finland found is that the reason we, or many people, get fatigued is the opposite to what we might assume.



Andy Hab

Sharing fascinating, fun, and important knowledge on the brain and human behaviour - most days. And masters track athlete - still going strong!