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Pointless workplace meetings a productivity drain

A new study has found the number of workplace meetings is rapidly on the rise, taking up increasing amounts of time, reducing productivity and providing little value to employees. 

The survey of over 3,900 professionals worldwide found that employees were being required to attend increasing numbers of workplace meetings but not taking anything away from them.

It found that five meetings per week were being held, on average, across all employee types and company sizes.

This figure rises to 7 meetings per week for those in executive management. For those at the VP and Director level in collaborative industries like financial services and media, the number rises to an average of 10 meetings per week.

For example, in Australia, a survey of employees inside the ANZ found that executives were losing 5 ½ days a year (three hours a week) simply because meetings were late to start.

The survey found that 88 per cent of ANZ employees admitted the number of meetings they were attending was on the rise, with 66 per cent of those meetings seen to have little or no value at all.

This compares to a global average of 67 per cent of employees who believe their meetings fail to deliver valuable outcomes.

Other key findings relating to the ANZ were that 32 per cent of meetings were ad hoc, with 30 per cent of workers reporting a rise in these kinds of meetings over the past 2 years.

This trend is exacerbated when it comes to one-on-one meetings where 43 percent of internal meetings and 36 percent external meetings are reported as impromptu and unscheduled.

Virtual meetings via teleconferences account for nearly a third of all meetings at the ANZ and the trend is higher for younger people aged between 26 and 35.

The study “Collaboration 2.0. Death of the web conference (as we know it)”, was conducted by market researcher Ovum on behalf of remote access software provider LogMeIn.

Surprisingly, it also showed Australia lagging behind the rest of the world in the number of employees using their laptop or mobile devices during meetings.

For example, while 65 per cent of ANZ employees were taking laptops, smartphones or tablets into meetings, only 29 per cent of workers used a smartphone in the meeting. This compares to 36 per cent in Europe and 31 per cent globally.

The trend is replicated for laptop usage during meetings with only 26 percent of workers at the ANZ using them during meetings. This compares to 28 per cent in Europe and 35 per cent globally.

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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly is a writer for Dynamic Business. He has previously worked in the Canberra Press Gallery and has a keen interest in business, the economy and federal policy. He also follows international relations and likes to read history.

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