Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever felt tired of having meetings online?

Have you heard people talk about having Zoom fatigue in English?

In these crazy and often uncertain times, many of us have unique work situations that may involve a lot of online meetings.

Zoom fatigue has become a very real thing, and that’s what we are talking about today.

You will learn what this is, how reverse meetings may help, and how to consider the best work situations for your job.

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Working Past Zoom Fatigue

We have all enjoyed the benefits of Zoom calls during the pandemic, as it’s been quite useful.

At the same time, you may experience some fatigue with this as well and that’s something that you want to stay on top of and work through.

There may be frustrations from meeting in a virtual environment, and this can lead to something known as “Zoom fatigue.”

You may have experienced this yourself, and you may have found that sometimes meeting in a virtual environment

There was a wonderful and helpful article that you will want to check out which speaks to zoom fatigue and how to work through that.

The article is “If You’re Exhausted by Zoom, Try Reverse Meetings Instead” by Jessica Stillman.

In this article, best-selling author, Cal Newport, has a surprisingly simple suggestion to fight Zoom fatigue. 

The big suggestion that he makes is to focus on “reverse meetings.”

What does this mean?

The idea is everyone has “office hours” online, and these are set in advance.

People can come in whenever they want to talk or meet.

This is done much more on a basis of when you might need to, rather than having a lot of potentially unnecessary meetings.

This also cuts down on your time online overall, and therefore ensures that your Zoom fatigue is lessened.

So is this right for you?

We’re going to look at the benefits and the potential drawbacks to this idea, and then you can determine if it’s a viable option for you.

Benefits To Reverse Meetings

So you can get the feeling for what this means and how this may work in your life.

Is this the best idea for your work situation?

Will it work to your advantage?

Let’s start by taking a look at the true benefits of reverse meetings.

  • No need to set an appointment: You can attend to these hours when necessary and you don’t need to actually set up an appointment. You know that this time is available, and you can take advantage of you when it best suits you.
  • You can talk to each person you work with one at a time: You can talk through ideas too, but it can be done on more of an individual basis. You don’t have to group everyone together for a meeting about something you want to talk about in a much smaller setting.
  • You are meeting with one person: This works for these types of conversations and ensures the flow. You can simplify things, clear them up, and ultimately make sure that they stay on track. Though this is a different approach, it may be much more effective.
  • It takes less time: Overall this takes up much less of your time. Though you may have the need for real meetings sometimes, this ensures that you can use your time more efficiently.

These are all great benefits and can ensure that reverse meetings can be an effective use of time.

There may be times however that this doesn’t work, and that’s when you need to consider the potential drawbacks.

Are There Drawbacks To This?

Sure, there may be some excellent benefits to this type of meeting and this mindset overall.

There are however some drawbacks or instances when this may not work for people.

You want to be careful to think through the downside to this, or the times when the reverse meeting may not be as beneficial.

Here are the things that may potentially work against you or which may prohibit you from doing reverse meetings.

  • It wouldn’t work for new, flexible work schedules: For those that have a flexible work schedule, this is not going to work well. This is because you have different times where you may be working, and therefore trying to keep these set office hours that flow easily may not be suitable.
  • It would be tough for parents: For parents that are trying to balance work and kids, this is not a good option. You may have to work around a school schedule or be available to your kids early or later in the day. Therefore having this type of approach would not fit within that structure.
  • It might keep some people in the dark about things: There are times when a cohesive approach and a group meeting can be a really great thing. This approach however could cause some animosity and may keep some people in the dark.
  • This would be tough for rapidly changing schedules/deadlines: If you work in an environment where deadlines are quickly changing, then this might be hard. This is another instance where you may need to talk to people as a group to get work done. Therefore it may work against you.

Though this may have merits, these drawbacks are worth considering.

You want to be sure that you consider all of this and your individual work situation to see if this is a match.

Making This Work When Possible

There are so many good aspects to this, and it’s well worth considering.

If you are in a less formal environment, then reverse meetings may work quite well.

It also depends heavily on the timing and deadlines of your projects, as well as if there is a need to meet as a group.

People may share more in this environment if brainstorming is an essential part of what you do.

Overall, it’s great to see that people are getting creative about how to work online, since that will likely continue to happen.

It’s important to keep being creative about this sort of thing, and to find the situation that works best in your situation to help you to be the most productive.

There are a couple of phrases that you may want to take away from this, and you can use these in your conversations in this area.

  • Change it up: This means mix these up or keep things interesting. This may be a necessary change to help you be more effective. You might say “Let’s change it up and do zoom office hours.”
  • Make the most of your time: This means to be efficient with your time. It means you don’t want to waste your time, but rather use your time in a very effective manner. You could say “Let’s make the most of our time and just meet as a group when it’s absolutely necessary.”

You might want to think through a few questions in this area for fun.

Your answers to these can help you to determine which approach works best, as well as help you to contribute to conversation.

Would you miss group meetings?

What is the value in group meetings vs. individual meetings?

Does one work better than another for you?

Consider the answer to these and you can participate in this type of conversation very nicely.


How else do you think online work could change as people get more used to it?

How is online work for you?

Are you tired of it? Would reverse meetings work for you?

This gives a very interesting point of view and certainly offers something to think about.

You want to be sure to consider every angle of this so that you can make the decision that works best for you.

Though you may not necessarily have ever considered reverse meetings in the past, this is a very current option that may work well for you moving forward.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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