The Importance, State and Impacts of Business Meetings | The Stats and Figures Behind Meeting Productivity
Despite the continuing advances of the technological modern era we currently live in, face-to-face meetings are still an integral part of a business. This may not be believable, particularly because of the impact technology is having on everyday life. However, this is not necessarily the same for business life.
Research suggests the average organisation spends 15% of its time in meetings. This is a significant amount of time, so in this blog, we have looked into some research regarding meeting efficiency. Findings from Doodle.com defines the importance, state and impacts of meetings, and we have had a brief look further into how changes could significantly minimalise any negative impacts for the future.
State of Meetings
Doodle.com have gathered information from nineteen million meetings and commissioned interviews. Their research encompasses the thoughts of over 6,500 working professionals in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and the United States. Whilst this information is not necessarily representative of meetings worldwide, the data can still be useful. It can help businesses to establish the impacts meetings have, as well as how they can be minimalised.
According to Doodle, the average working professional spends three hours a week in meetings. The majority (41%) of them last between 31 and 60 minutes. It would appear there is an overwhelming preference for morning meetings too. Seventy per cent of professionals
These statistics reveal much about the norms of meetings across four different countries with four different business climates. They are also important to remember when you consider the fact that more than a third (37%) of professionals believe unnecessary meetings are the biggest cost to their organisation. Evidently, there is an importance placed on meetings and the potential detrimental impacts they have.
Impacts of Meetings
So, what are the impacts of an unnecessary or unorganised business meeting? Doodle found that 100% of working professionals in the survey felt an inefficient meeting is a waste of resources. This may seem like an obvious statement. Not until you consider that over £350bn’s worth of resources is still wastefully funding meetings worldwide every year.
Clearly, the negative impacts of business are continuing to go unsolved. Frustrations surrounding them are still evident too. According to the survey from Salary.com, the issue of “too many meetings” ties second with “annoying co-workers” on the ways time is wasted most at work. Although it still ranks below “Internet browsing” as an issue, it is evident that numerous unnecessary meetings are a typical frustration and time-waster within businesses.
Valuable time-wasting appears to be the most significant consequence of inefficient meetings. Doodle found that around two-thirds (71%) of its surveyed professionals lose time weekly due to unnecessary or cancelled meetings. This would make sense, considering how meetings can interrupt routines and the flow of someone’s work. The Harvard Business Review quotes the term “deep work”, used by Georgetown computer science professor Cal Newport. The term describes the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. The review goes on to explain how schedules riddled with meetings can interrupt a business person’s ‘deep work’.
Evidently, it would seem the biggest consequences of too many, or even just a few poorly organised meetings, are interrupted workflow and the waste of potentially valuable work time.
What Changes Can Be Made?
For every problem in business, there is an achievable solution. This is no different for business meetings. The changes a business can make are simple. An example of this could include ensuring the meeting is absolutely essential. Productive planning is undoubtedly the best way to assure this. As BlueJeans rightly describes as an ‘Agenda’, there should be a prior agreement on the purpose of the meeting, what the focus will be, and how every participant will contribute.
Setting a start and stop time can also be beneficial. This can ensure that meetings do not overflow into the hours dedicated to other tasks. One of Brian Tracy International’s ‘7 Ways To Make Meetings More Efficient’ includes summarising the conclusion of each meeting. This way, every participant can take definitive closure from a meeting.
Furthermore, across the research we have conducted for this study, there has been an understandable emphasis on committing to these types of changes consistently. It is no use companies changing the way they plan and conduct discussions temporarily if the same changes do not continue in the further future.
Ultimately, the positive impacts of business meetings are just as, if not more, significant than the impacts a bad meeting can have. The increasing exposure of Doodle’s findings can change the way companies, including serviced apartment businesses, conduct meetings in the foreseeable future.