How to… “Stay Awake” during online meetings

Written by Margaret Harris  

If you find it hard to stay awake during Zoom or Teams meetings with colleagues, you are not alone.

If you have ever fought off yawns during a video call, don’t be too hard on yourself. In a 2023 American Psychological Association study of hundreds of virtual and in-person meetings at two global corporations, it was found that lots of people doze off – or find their minds wandering because the meetings don’t do enough to keep them involved,” says Linda Trim, director at workplace design company Giant Leap.

She advises:

  • Before sending out invitations to yet another online meeting, make sure it needs to even take place;
  • Share all the meeting materials beforehand so the time is spent on productive discussions rather than listening to a person reading from slides;
  • Keep meetings short – no longer than 30 minutes. Studies show that even after 10 minutes people start feeling sleepy;
  • Ask people not to multi-task as they will be disengaged from the discussion;
  • Encourage people to switch on their cameras so everyone can read vital facial expressions and other non-verbal cues.

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