Offices can run smoothly with even half of meetings held daily: survey

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In a world where 25 hours on average are being spent by executives every week attending meetings, a recent survey suggests that offices can run smoothly even after cutting down those Zoom calls and project updates to half.

The survey was conducted on around 10,000 desk workers by Future Forum which is a research consortium supported by Salesforce Inc-owned Slack Technologies.

The study reveals that the business leaders have been attending many unproductive meetings with the hope that it would be a good use of their working hours, but it ultimately wasn’t.

The meetings are also attended by employees to show their manager that they are working and because they don’t want to miss something important, the survey found.

For the employees in the lower position, the reason for attending the meetings is that they don’t have a choice. The study’s findings come at a time when various organisations are making efforts to understand which meetings are really important and which ones need to be jettisoned in a growing hybrid workplace where staffers are not always present at the same location.

Canadian e-commerce site Shopify Inc said that it is working to eliminate 320,000 hours of meetings in 2023 by suspending all recurring meetings that are held with more than two people, making Wednesday a “no-meetings” day and putting a limit on large gatherings while encouraging employees to decline some invites.

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Another survey suggested that around $100 million is wasted every year on non-critical meetings at big organisations, which also found that workers decline only 14 per cent of invites even though they are willing to back out from 31 per cent of them.

Brian Elliott, a Slack executive who oversees the research of Future Forum, said, “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to eliminating unnecessary meetings. So get comfortable with experimenting and iterating.” 

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