I was chatting with a colleague in Japan about the online experience we are planning for attending sessions of VR 2020 in a shared online virtual world. He pointed out that the conference would run from 23:00 to 7:00 hours for him.
This is, of course, the biggest challenge with "remote attendance" at distant events. Here's what I wrote back, on our slack.
Yes, it's socially and psychologically hard to skip out of your normal life when you are still in town. But if you're doing as much as you would have done if you went to the conference, that's ok.
Tackling the climate impact of academic travel will require us to deal with problems like these. We'll have to start thinking about doing things like canceling meetings, and classes, when we are still in town, since we would have had to do it if we flew across the world. Convincing our colleagues, our departments, and even our families to "pretend I'm not here" is possible, and the rewards (for ourselves and our planet) will follow.