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Long meetings impacting worker productivity

A study found 57% of workers only have one useful meeting a week -

Over half (55%) of UK office workers said they waste too much time in meetings, while 81% are confident that shorter meetings would achieve the same outcomes.

According to a study from technology company Brother UK, 57% of workers only have one useful meeting a week.

Phil Jones, managing director at Brother UK, said unstructured and lengthy meetings can have a serious impact on productivity and morale.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “More than half of the people we spoke to say that long meetings are stopping them from getting work done. This naturally can lead to an impact in morale and lead to a drop in productivity.

“There can be a multitude of reasons for this including poor pre-meeting preparation; differing personality and thinking types, company culture and office politics. What’s evident is that these long meetings can lead to frustration when they become inefficient talking shops.”

Read more: Managing time in meetings

Waffling (59%), too much small talk (48%), late joiners (31%) and people not paying attention (31%) were the worst culprits for time wasting.

More than a third (43%) think that colleagues do other work during most meetings.

Gemma Dale, business lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University, said since remote work became more common, there is a tendency to schedule too many meetings throughout the day.

The study found 53% said they attend too many disengaging and poorly structured meetings, with this figure rising to 67% among remote workers.

Speaking to HR magazine, Dale said: “Meetings are often too long because they aren’t well run, people don’t do pre-work, or the agenda is overloaded. Since the increase in remote work, it is also common for people to cram too many meetings into the day, resulting in back to back meetings which have other impacts on employee wellbeing.”

She added: “If organisations want to improve their meetings they need to think about their purpose, focus on making them efficient – and ask the question whether any particular meeting is needed at all.

“Asynchronous tools can support effective ways of working and reduce the need for meetings, providing potentially better ways to share information.”

Read more: How reducing meetings increases employee autonomy