SURVEY SAYS: Suffering From Virtual Meeting Burnout?

PLANSPONSOR NEWSDash readers share whether they are feeling virtual meeting burnout and the pros and cons of virtual meetings.

Last week, I asked NEWSDash readers, “Are you suffering from virtual meeting burnout yet?” I also asked, “What are some pros and cons of virtual meetings?”

The majority of respondents (60.7%) work in a plan sponsor role, while 17.9% are recordkeepers/TPAs/investment consultants, 14.3% are advisers/consultants, and 3.6% each are attorneys or CPAs.

Not surprisingly, the majority (60.7%) indicated they are suffering from virtual meeting burnout.

However, asked if they will continue virtual meetings in some capacity if/when things get back to normal, most (57.1%) said they will for work meetings. More than one-third of responding readers (35.7%) said they will continue virtual meetings for work and for friends and family. Only 7.1% said they will not continue virtual meetings.

As for pros and cons, the readers who chose to leave comments mentioned seeing people’s faces, being able to do other work while attending meetings (if the camera is off) and “Nobody can see you from the waist down” as some positives. Cons included the feeling of personal space being intruded upon and technical issues. But that is not all responding readers had to say.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in our survey!


I remember years ago when we switched to casual attire, I needed to buy a whole new wardrobe to supplement my usual suits/jeans repertoire. Now I feel like I need to hire an interior designer to make my house presentable (spoiler: I haven’t and it is not) and mask how I really live. Why do these “advancements”, which amount to incursions on my personal life, cost so much and make me feel so inadequate?

It’s easy to move from one meeting to another since you never have to stand up from your desk! It has been nice reducing the amount of time spent traveling to meetings.

More people can attend the virtual meetings than could drive or fly to the other meetings. Nice to see faces and other people’s decor

I do not miss all the time spent driving from client to client! I am more productive with our all-virtual schedule. However, I do miss some face-to-face time. I will look to rely mostly on virtual meetings in the future, but with some meaningful client face time interspersed – like some lunches and happy hours!

Con: allows incompetent “consultants” to hide their incompetency.

Pro: Nobody can see you from the waist down. Con: Everybody can see you from the waist up. (I just hate seeing myself on camera!)

In our totally open office I’m not able to have the open and honest conversations with employees that I am now that we’re all working from home. It’s been great to build relationships with people and I look forward to those relationships continuing as we head back to the office… one day.

At least with a virtual meeting you can see the faces of your coworkers! I miss those faces!

Nothing replacing being face to face for meaningful meetings and I see voices not being heard because of the awkwardness of trying to chime in. But for the ones that seem like a waste, right now it’s nice to ‘attend’ and also get some work done.

Pros: Nice to see another side (casual) of business contacts. Cons: Video meetings are very taxing on the brain. Video meetings I feel are very intrusive. If/when things get back to normal, my impression will be that we will see occasional virtual meetings, but in very specific circumstances. We lost the balance or perhaps never had it. Virtual meetings seem to be the new and shiny toy and it will eventually get old.

Meetings in general need to be well-run, regardless of virtual or in-person. At least with virtual we can legitimately work while listening (assuming the camera is turned off).

Always challenging when people have older computers without camera or microphone, then trying to get them connected. Meetings always start late.

The plus is that you can stay connected the minus is that there are some many connectivity issues I’d rather not stay connected.

Although I’d much rather see people in person, it is a good substitute and great way to maintain/build relationships. Just need to keep them to a reasonable length (30 mins works best for me!).

If the content isn’t relevant, you can turn off the camera and mike and do other work while appearing to participate! Can’t do that in a conference room.

Sometimes I am just drained from staring at a screen all day and then to be focused on a talking head…makes it even worse. Needing to make sure I look like I’m focused and paying attention sure does take a lot of energy! 🙂

Since many of our meetings with outside partners were virtual prior to the pandemic, the change is more focused on internal meetings. We have been remote for more than 4 months and as a team have adapted to staying connected in a virtual environment. I don’t see much downside to continuing that, even when things return to normal.

It is great that we have a means to continue meeting, whether socially or professionally, but it is not the same as in-person meetings. Virtual meetings are fine for many situations, and will probably continue for those, but there are times when it is better to be face-to-face, and I hope we’ll be able to move back to that in the coming months.

Technical issues sometimes delay the start of meetings. Training I think would help.

virtual meetings are 10x more exhausting than regular meetings….and I am still at a loss for why we are still having to ask people to mute their lines.

I’ve read recently that these virtual meetings have been a lifesaver for the extroverts among us who crave personal interaction, but have only served to add to the stress for introverts, who are weary of having people’s faces thrust into their faces for every little bit of interaction. That’s where I am. Pick up the phone people. Give it a rest. And that way you can stay in your pajamas…. ;-}


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.