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End Meeting Madness: Executives admit half can be axed without consequence

Published by
WIlliam Dube

Are you exhausted from attending seemingly endless, unproductive meetings? It appears that even your boss may share your sentiments. A recent survey conducted by Future Forum, a research consortium supported by Salesforce Inc.-owned Slack Technologies, reveals that executives spend an average of 25 hours a week in meetings. Interestingly, almost 50% of these Zoom calls and project updates could be eliminated without any negative repercussions. The survey gathered responses from over 10,000 desk workers, providing valuable insights into the current state of workplace meetings.

  1. A Future Forum survey reveals that executives spend 25 hours a week in meetings, with almost 50% of these gatherings deemed unnecessary and potentially eliminable without negative impact.
  2. Companies, such as Shopify Inc., are implementing strategies to reduce meeting overload by eliminating certain types of gatherings, limiting attendees, and encouraging employees to decline nonessential invitations.
  3. Non-executives spend an average of 10.6 hours per week in meetings and suggest that 43% could be eliminated; common tactics to reduce meeting frequency include trimming invite lists, sharing agendas beforehand, and focusing on addressing complex issues.

Top reasons for attending unproductive meetings cited by business leaders include the initial belief that the meeting would be a good use of time, fear of missing important information, and the desire to demonstrate to their own managers that they are actively working. For those further down the corporate ladder, the most common reason for attending is simple: they often don’t have a choice.

As the modern workplace continues to evolve into a more hybrid environment, many organizations are attempting to determine which meetings truly matter and which ones can be safely discarded. For instance, Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify Inc. has announced plans to eliminate 320,000 hours of meetings this year by canceling all recurring meetings with more than two people, prohibiting meetings on Wednesdays, limiting large gatherings, and encouraging employees to decline certain meeting invitations.

A separate survey estimates that attending nonessential meetings costs large organizations approximately $100 million per year. This study also discovered that while employees only decline 14% of meeting invitations, they would actually prefer to decline 31% of them. In fact, the percentage of one-on-one virtual meetings increased from 17% in 2020 to 42% in 2021, according to a study of 48 million meetings by collaboration analytics firm Vyopta. This indicates that companies are attempting to reduce the number of meeting participants, even if they aren’t reducing the total number of meetings. Additionally, workplace scheduling apps like Calendly report that some customers are becoming more adept at scheduling valuable meetings.

The Future Forum survey found that non-executives spend an average of 10.6 hours per week in meetings and believe that 43% of these meetings could be eliminated. To combat meeting overload, some common strategies include trimming the attendee list, sending agendas in advance, and ensuring that meetings focus on addressing complex issues rather than simply providing a rundown of topics.

Brian Elliott, a Slack executive who oversees the Future Forum research, emphasized that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for eliminating unnecessary meetings. He suggests that organizations should “get comfortable with experimenting and iterating” in order to find the most effective strategies for their specific workplace.

WIlliam Dube

William Dube is a finance and economic news expert with over 10 years of experience in economic anaylsis, financial product assessment and market analysis. With a numerous certificates from prestigious universities including but not limited to Yale University and the University of Pennyslivenia. William specializes in providing insightful news developments in South Africa and commentary on investment strategies, risk management, and global economic trends. You can contact him on william@rateweb.co.za

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Published by
WIlliam Dube

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