How to Avoid Becoming an Online Meeting Zombie

“Online meetings are here to stay. You might dread that next Zoom meeting, but it can save time, money, and even stress”

“No…not another Zoom meeting!” cry people everywhere, almost every day. We’re all feeling it. The dread of getting on another videoconference. The detachment and brain fog we feel while the meeting drones on. And the exhaustion that hits when we finally get to click “Leave the Meeting.” 

The nickname for this syndrome is “Zoom fatigue,” but it’s hardly fair to blame it on Zoom. This is the actual physical and mental drain that comes from attending a series of videoconferences throughout the day. It’s the curse of the online meeting zombies.

Photo Credit: Chris Montgomery

Online Meeting Fatigue is Real

The exhaustion you feel actually is in your head: the “cognitive load is much higher in video chats” reports a study conducted at the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab. Basically, your brain has to work harder in online meetings to send and receive signals, to read people’s facial expressions, and interpret tones of voice. You get brain drain. 

Other reasons for online meeting fatigue are more obvious: we’re tired of looking at ourselves on screen. We’re expected to “on” at all times. We sit for too long. We’re distracted and pulled by life going on around us. 

So how to fight becoming an online meeting zombie? Here are some tips.

Get off camera, if possible. If it’s acceptable to turn your video off during the meeting, do. You’ll have less pressure of being “on,” you can move around, you can make faces, and do some stretches during a co-worker’s monologue.

Treat your ears and eyes to good equipment. High-quality audio and video can improve your online experience. A good headset will help you hear the conversation, reduce distracting noises around you, and you’ll come through more clearly to others in the meeting. A ring light will handle lighting issues on your end, so you can relax (and look great!) 

Reduce on-screen distractions: Close windows or apps other than the videoconference tool to reduce distractions and the temptation to multi-task.

Schedule screen-time breaks. Try to keep some open time between online meetings. When you’re not in a meeting, get away from the screen when you can. You may have to schedule an off-screen escape. Perhaps work to reduce your overall screen time outside of work.

When the meeting’s over, move! Get up and stretch when the meeting ends if you can. Or wiggle in your chair and do sitting isometrics. Take a tour around the block. Do jumping jacks. Do something to get your body moving. Here are in-chair moves you can do even during the meeting and a 7-Minute Standing Workout to boost your energy.

Photo Credit: Caroline Kay

Get outside whenever possible. A walk outside between meetings can help to clear your head. Even popping outside for a few deep breaths of fresh air can diminish mental cobwebs. C.KAY President, Caroline Kay’s go-to remedy for online meeting fatigue is a quiet cup of tea in fresh air, away from all screens.

Online meetings are here to stay. You might dread that next Zoom meeting, but it can save time, money, and even stress. No commute, no parking, no fancy pants or shoes required. Just a respectable-looking head, perhaps enhanced with impressive headphones and a light ring no one will know you have. Turn off the video and you can dance while you’re in that meeting. 

Zoom on!







More Ways to Improve Online Meetings 

  • How to plan and host a successful online meeting
  • We’re excited to be producing an increasing number of in-person and hybrid events. Get tips on how to deliver a great hybrid event.
  • Do you give a lot of online presentations? We have some tricks and techniques to make you an on-air pro.  Give us a buzz

C.KAY International has been producing virtual events, and in-person events with virtual components, for a long time. We’re here to help with event coaching or ready to plan and deliver your entire production. Contact


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