Are you sick of attending pointless meetings? Evidently, your manager is also likely sick of them.
A survey of more than 10,000 desk workers by Future Forum, a research consortium backed by Salesforce Inc.-owned Slack Technologies, found that executives spend an average of 25 hours per week in meetings, but nearly half of those Zoom calls and project updates could be eliminated without any negative impact.
The leading reason why company executives attend ineffective meetings is that they believed it would be a beneficial use of their time, but it was not. The poll revealed that they also go for fear of missing anything crucial and to demonstrate to their management that they are working. The most prevalent justification for attendance for those lower on the corporate ladder is that they have no option.
The findings come at a time when many firms are attempting to determine which meetings are essential and which ones may be eliminated in an increasingly hybrid workplace where employees are rarely in the same area. Shopify Inc., a Canadian e-commerce website, announced that it is on track to eliminate 320,000 hours of meetings this year by eliminating all recurring meetings with more than two people, prohibiting meetings on Wednesdays, limiting large gatherings, and encouraging employees to decline some invitations.
According to a separate poll, reluctance to attend non-essential meetings costs large firms over $100 million each year. Nevertheless, only 14% of invites are declined, despite the fact that 31% of employees would like to reject them.
The percentage of virtual meetings that are one-on-one increased from 17% in 2020 to 42% last year, according to a study of 48 million meetings conducted by collaboration analytics firm Vyopta. This indicates that companies are attempting to limit the number of meeting participants, if not meetings as a whole. And office scheduling tools such as Calendly claim that some of their clients are becoming savvier about arranging more important meetings.
The Future Forum poll indicated that non-executives spend an average of 10.6 hours per week in meetings and that 43% of them could be eliminated. Typical techniques for preventing meeting overload include decreasing the number of invitees, giving out agendas in advance, and ensuring that the actual meeting focuses on knotty issues rather than a mere rundown of themes.
“There is no universal strategy for avoiding superfluous meetings,” said Brian Elliott, a Slack executive who supervises the Future Forum study. Hence, become accustomed to trying and iterating.