Even though there are more tools than ever to schedule and carry out meetings, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of wasted time. A recent multinational research from Doodle came to the same conclusion as it revealed the average professional spends 13 days a year in pointless meetings.
The amount of time which will be lost in the coming year comes out to a total of 24 billion hours. In terms of monetary value, the report said these meetings will waste more than $541 billion of resources around the world in 2019.
While the macro numbers are quite overwhelming, you can also dwindle down the impact to the micro level for small businesses. The time a company wastes with inefficient meeting workflows affects everyone the same way no matter how big or small they are.
On the company blog, Gabriele Ottino, CEO of Doodle, explained the challenges and solutions organizations are facing when it comes to meetings.
Ottino said, “Everyone knows the pains of boring, pointless meetings. They happen every day, but the cumulative effect is frankly shocking! If you aren’t looking to improve the efficiency of meetings at your organization, you’re wasting an enormous amount of money and time.”
He goes on to say, “What’s positive is that within the huge financial implications lie simple issues that can easily be fixed.”
The Impact of Pointless Meetings
The research was commissioned by Doodle, an online scheduling platform, and it was extensive.
Data from three sources: a Nielsen study of 1,000 professionals (conducted August 2018), a survey of 5,528 professionals from the UK, Switzerland Germany & the USA (conducted October – December 2018), and analysis of over 19 million meeting responses shared via the Doodle platform in 2018 were used for the report.
The cost of the pointless meetings is substantial, and 37% of professionals in the survey said it was the biggest cost to their organization.
When you take into account the average professional has three meetings each week lasting one hour, the losses can quickly add up. What is revealing about data is, these professionals feel two-thirds of the meetings they attend are unnecessary.
The impact of the disorganization and inefficiency has negative consequences for the personal and professional being of employees. More than a quarter or 26% said it affected their client relationships, with another 43% stating the meetings created confusion, and almost half or 44% added it impacted their ability to do their work.
So, what happens when a meeting is taking place? Thirty-three percent said they were not able to contribute in most of the meetings they attend. And a number of reasons are responsible for this, which ultimately make for a bad meeting.
The respondents in the survey said taking phone calls or texting during meetings (55%), interrupting each other (50%), not listening to the contributions of others (49%), arriving late or leaving early (49%), and talking about nothing for long periods of time (46%) are some of the reasons responsible for bad meetings.
A Good Meeting
As Ottino said, there are simple fixes. The key is to get everyone in the company on the same page and getting them organized with clear and strict governance.
The professionals in the report agreed with this, as 72% said setting clear objectives is essential. Another 67% went on to say it is just as important to have a clear agenda. And last but not least not having too many people in the room was also an important point.
When it is time for the meeting, face-to-face is still the best way to interact with people for 76% of professionals. Conference calls, video calls, and instant-messaging scored low with only seven, five, and four percent respectively.
Meetings are an essential part of running a business. It allows decision-makers to implement new policies and gauge where the company is heading.
The key, as the Doodle report reveals is making meetings as important as any other critical part of business operations with clear parameters and goals.