Zooming Z’s

What’s more exhausting: meetings on zoom, or in person?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Virtual meetings are still often used for convenience. Regular users report feeling tired from multiple virtual appointments. Do video meetings really cause more fatigue? Or just more whining?

René Riedl and team from Austria investigated.

Thirty-five volunteers attended two lectures, one virtual and the other in-person. The participants completed surveys about their mental and physical well-being before and after each lecture. During the lectures, researchers tracked the heart rate and brain activity of the volunteers.

Results? When attending virtually, participants SELF-REPORTED feeling tired and irritated more than during in-person attendance. BUT Virtual attendees also EXHIBITED decreased heart rate and changes in brain activity linked to sleepiness. Overall, the virtual attendee results showed more mental exhaustion and drowsiness!

This is the first study to ACTUALLY report MEASURED physical effects from video conferencing! This knowledge may encourage more in-person events.

Maybe now we can justify a refreshing nap mid-meeting! Camera OFF!

Reference: Riedl, R., Kostoglou, K., Wriessnegger, S.C. et al. Videoconference fatigue from a neurophysiological perspective: experimental evidence based on electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiography (ECG). Sci Rep 13, 18371 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-45374-y