Office workers are spending more than an entire working day every week on unnecessary meetings, according to new research from eShare.
The average office worker spends 10 hours 42 minutes every week preparing for and attending 4.4 meetings. According to staff, more than half of these are deemed unnecessary. With the number of attendees at 6.8, this equates to annual staff costs of £35,395.36per business, based on Office for National Statistics average earnings data. With 5.4 million businesses in the UK, this means the total staff cost per year of unnecessary meetings is more than £191 billion.
“Even as an approximate figure, £191 billion is an astonishing amount to be wasted in staff costs, time and resource that could clearly be much better spent elsewhere,” according to eShare CEO, Alister Esam. “The template for smarter meetings must start at the top – board level meetings must be efficient, essential and better managed, so that meetings elsewhere can follow that lead.”
The research also revealed that 70% of office workers believe there are too many meetings in a working week, with 79% saying they could get much more work done with fewer inefficient meetings. In fact, 24% of respondents say that often the same results could be achieved with a few quick emails.
It is this lack of modernisation that has resulted in such meeting inefficiency, argues Esam, which specialises in meeting governance technology. Indeed, the lack of digitisation around business meetings was highlighted by the research with over 80% agreeing meetings need a 21st century makeover and 52% saying they still receive a printed agenda and materials for most meetings.
“We’ve all been in meetings that took scores of emails to confirm, that have a paper agenda, where people can’t recall exactly what the previous actions were and with meeting materials that have been amended at the last minute – these problems could all be addressed by a more digital approach.” Esam cites paper agendas as a particularly serious problem as it is “potentially a major security concern.”
“Addressing such inefficiencies could be the biggest single boost to productivity in UK business, whilst also improving areas such as governance and transparency, especially at board level,” states Esam. “The benefits of doing so will be felt in boardrooms all over the UK.”