Survey: One-third of meetings are pointless, wasting $100 million a year

We’ve all had work meetings that we thought were useless.

We may be more correct than we know.

One new research This shows that pointless meetings not only make us unhappy at work, but waste a lot of time and money.

Software company Otter.ai, in collaboration with Dr. Steven Rogelberg, professor of organizational sciences at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, conducted a survey last summer of 632 employees from 20 different industries. Pointless meetings add to a business’ bottom line, and the impact of wasted time and money is staggering.

But maybe you know.

The (Bad) Scourge of Business Meetings

Bad meetings are so common it even sparks Companies spring up to tackle meeting overloadalthough some bosses Call for a complete ban on as many meetings as possible.

Many people refer to the meeting as Sources of Employee Burnout In the post-pandemic workplace, Take up more white-collar time in a remote environment. The findings link burnout to pure boredom and depression.

Survey participants told Rogelberg that they spend an average of 18 hours a week in meetings — they could have skipped nearly 6 hours of meetings if they could have kept up with their topics. Among the employees surveyed, the median work week was 50 hours—meaning roughly two workdays per week were devoted to meetings.

Almost half of respondents said they had too many unnecessary meetings on their calendars, while 53% said they felt obligated to accept invitations, even if they weren’t important to the meeting agenda.

Unsurprisingly, many employees said they were “annoyed” and “frustrated” by the frequency of pointless meetings they had to attend.

Seven in 10 employees say they multitask during meetings, and 45% admit they turn off video or audio during conference calls—primarily to be able to get other things done.

The survey also showed that the higher a person was in their organization, the more meetings they attended. Non-managers spend an average of 13.7 hours per week in meetings, while managers with four or more direct reports spend more than 22 hours per week in meetings.

wasting time, wasting money

However, it’s not just workers who fail.

While unnecessary meetings are found to be a waste of time, they are also found to be a huge waste of money.

Rogelberg, who has spent decades researching and writing about the science behind efficient meetings, uses participants’ salaries to estimate how much employers throw away.

He found that, on average, companies waste about $25,000 per employee per year on half-heartedly attending meetings they deem unnecessary.

Overall, companies with 100 employees would save nearly $2.5 million a year if they cut unnecessary meetings, while companies with 5,000 employees would save more than $100 million a year, the study found.

The Otter.ai research adds to the raft of research on how the pandemic is driving workers to more meetings than ever before.

In 2020, a major international study The pandemic workday was found to be an average of 48 minutes longer, with office workers recording more meetings.

However, some people are more than happy to take the hit of more meetings in exchange for the freedom to work from anywhere.The remote work revolution has opened up opportunities to work in exotic locations such as Thailand and Bali– and some workers without even telling their boss They are logging in from countries thousands of miles from home.

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