June 30, 2016
People generally find they don’t spend as much time in meetings as is commonly assumed and find them more productive than is widely reported, according to a study of global workers by unified communications firm Shoretel. The report sets out what it suggests are ten misconceptions about how people meet based on the results of an online questionnaire carried out earlier this year with 1,000 respondents worldwide. It claims that over three-quarters of respondents (76 percent) say they spend one hour or under each weekday in a meeting. Inevitably, the report breaks things down by age demographics, claiming that Generation X’ers, are more likely than other generations to spend more time in weekly meets as were respondents working in the tech sectors. Only 11 percent of respondents found meetings a waste of time. Forty percent of respondents reported meetings were productive and another 48 percent said they were ‘sort of’ productive.
Overall Baby Boomers were the most likely to think time spent in a meeting was productive (47 percent) as compared to Millennials. However, when it came to describing them as a waste of time Baby Boomers and Millennials shared similar attitudes (9 percent and 11 percent, respectively).
10 Common Misconceptions About Meetings
- People spend too much time in them every day.
- Many view their outcomes to be less than desirable and a complete waste of time.
- Millennials in particular struggle with them and prefer to communicate using other digital channels.
- With the number of remote workers on the rise, more people now attend remotely.
- Getting meeting technologies to work significantly delays the start time.
- Most people multitask during them.
- The size of an organisation has no bearing on the number of hours spent in them.
- Setting an agenda is recommended, yet many do not follow this best practice.
- Vertical industries such as education, healthcare and government spend more time in them.
- People experience them pretty much the same way the world over.
With regard to how people behave in meetings, the majority of all respondents (67 percent) listen and take notes, 25 percent get other work done, and only 8 percent say they are checking personal email, texting or engaging with social media.
The report claims there appears to be no correlation as to how people view meetings and their meeting productivity. Of all respondents, 46 percent work at the office every day, although that number is much smaller in Europe (29 percent). Asia had the fewest hours in a meeting a week (57 percent citing 0-4 hours) and Australia the most (45 percent citing 9+ hours). Both Asia and Europe found them to be more productive (48 percent and 52 percent respectively) than North America (40 percent).
Larger organisations reported the most meetings and start-ups the fewest. Globally, the majority of respondents report a preference for meeting in conference rooms (64 percent), with those in the education sector reporting the highest number (81 percent) from conference rooms. The technology sector attends by phone or remotely half the time.