Why so many meetings are a waste of time

25 April 2014

Why so many meetings are a waste of timeAlmost a fifth of all meetings (19%) are a complete waste of time, according to survey of UK employees in UK by Sharp Europe.

Meetings account for at least 39.2 million office hours each week and one fifth are a waste of time, according to respondents – representing 7.5 million wasted hours every week.

The report finds that only 16% of people would describe the meetings they have at work as "inspiring", and 79% of workers say that they're more productive at their desks.

When it comes to participation, 67% think that one person usually talks too much and 63% think that meetings would be better if everyone could be more involved. Only a third (31%) of office workers have been trained to lead a meeting.

The report also finds that, while watching presentations, a fifth of office workers (21%) have wanted to say something, but were not given the opportunity to do so. And 17% of people dislike presentations because there aren't enough opportunities to ask questions.

The top three complaints about presentations are: talks being too long (61%); uninspiring content (56%); and a boring presenter (56%).

The survey's other findings include:

  • 13% admitted to having fallen asleep during a work presentation;
  • 44% have witnessed someone else nodding off;
  • 10% of office workers have found a meeting so dull that they have invented a reason to leave;
  • 34% said that they spend up to half the time in meetings thinking about something else entirely;
  • 12% spend almost all of the time with their mind elsewhere.

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