Business Info - issue 138

What’s wrong with meetings Are meetings a waste of time? To find out, meeting room technology experts Barco commissioned Circle Research to survey 3,000 white-collar workers in Europe, the Pacific, US, China and India. And guess what? Most of them are. Or, more accurately, meetings waste time. Barco’s new report, Five steps to the perfect meeting , shows that while meetings in Europe last an average of 49 minutes, the most productive ones are just 22 minutes long. So, that’s almost half an hour of every meeting that participants could be spending more productively doing something else. The survey shows that less than 44% of time in meetings is spent working towards the objective or discussing next steps. Most time is spent chatting and exchanging pleasantries. Then, there are all those meetings that meander towards an (in)conclusion and the ones people attend not knowing It’s the environment, stupid Improving the effectiveness of meetings is not just a question of implementing best practice but also of having suitable meeting spaces, claims K2 Space in its Meeting Expectations report. In a YouGov survey of 1,000 UK- based office workers for the report, 31% described the meeting rooms in their office as dull and uninspiring; 35% agreed that traditional meeting rooms, such as boardrooms, are outdated. Younger workers feel this even more strongly, with respective figures of 36% and 46% amongst Millennials. When asked what could be done to improve the quality of meetings, most respondents felt it would be helpful to have a variety of spaces to suit different types of meeting. These include: n quiet rooms or spaces where people why – 51% of employees in Europe regularly attend meetings unsure what the end goal is – or because they are too embarrassed to decline. The latter seems to be a particular problem for British workers, with 67% complaining they regularly attend meetings that are irrelevant to them simply out of politeness. This is a much higher figure than in the rest of Europe (53%). can take calls or concentrate without distraction (cited by 31%); n informal meeting spaces, instead of dedicated formal meeting rooms (20%); n a variety of differently sized meeting rooms (18%); n outdoor spaces (17%); and n tall desks to allow for standing meetings (11%). Respondents said the quality of Inefficiencies such as these have become part of meetings culture, but nonetheless remain a source of great frustration to time-poor office workers: 65% of UK employees believe that as soon as it becomes clear a meeting’s objective cannot be met, the meeting should end (though they are probably too polite to say it). Across Europe as a whole, 58% of employees believe they should be able to walk out of meetings if they find them irrelevant. This figure rises to 67% in Germany. The full report can be accessed from meeting-report.html. meetings could also be improved by redesigning existing meeting rooms to make them more attractive, fun and inspiring (14%) and by integrating technology (25%) and better meeting room booking systems (16%). K2 Space warns that having uninspiring meeting spaces makes it more likely that participants will become distracted and turn their attention to other things: n 24% of office workers admitted to messaging friends or family during a meeting or conference call; n 29% have got on with other work unrelated to the meeting; n 18% have checked or posted on social media; n 19% have browsed the internet for non-work purposes, including shopping online; and n 10% of office workers have fallen asleep or ‘dozed off’. K2space MEETINGS 12 | P2P Magazine 01732 759725 Meeting expectations? Two new reports highlight the shortcomings of today’s meeting culture, including uninspiring meeting spaces and poor use of time Howbusinessescan improvemeetingexperiences Having uninspiring meeting spaces makes it more likely that participants will become distracted India 24% 30% 7% 11% 12% 13% 13% 14% 29% 29% 30% 32% 33% 35% 36% USA UK Germany Australia France Japan China Setting up technology Discussing topics that are not part of the meeting objectives Waiting for somsone running late to arrive Exchanging pleasantries/making small talk Working towards meeting objectives Discussing next steps Reviewing meeting success To top it all, our research also revealed that, when meeting objectives are known, on average only 30% of time is ctually sp nt working towards them. This is below 30% in the UK, USA and India. So, not only are people invited to meetings they don’t need to attend, but meetings are either being used to work out objectives, or objectives – when they exist – are not adhered to. How employees use time in meetings: 04 ChapterOne