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Workers wasting over five days a year in 'pointless' meetings

Employees across the UK are spending too much time on menial tasks such as sending emails, updating the status of tasks and having unnecessary meetings.

Research from work management platform Asana showed that 61% of knowledge workers, such as accountants, editors and programmers, think they spend too much time doing 'work about work'.

In 2021 an estimated 134 hours were spent in avoidable meetings and calls.

Another 107 hours were spent redoing work last year.

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Managing time in meetings

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Over half of the workers surveyed admitted to multitasking during virtual meetings, suggesting that meetings were distracting from important work.

Asana's head of international Simon O'Kane said businesses need to find more efficient ways to communicate with their teams.

He told HR magazine: "In our fundamentally changed and ever-changing working world, ‘work about work’ is absorbing far too much of workers’ time. It still remains a challenge which needs to be addressed.

"Unnecessary meetings are a major contributing factor to this. It is time for business leaders to look beyond what they might have traditionally done and find new ways of collaborating with and aligning their teams."

Over a third (36%) of those surveyed said they spent more time on emails compared to 12 months ago. 

O'Kane suggested that employees providing updates remotely could help cut down on unnecessary meetings.

He added: "In order to combat these alarming trends, business leaders should prioritise encouraging teams to share asynchronous updates rather than defaulting to meetings as a catch-all for team alignment.

"Organisations must also set clear guidelines on what constitutes a meeting instead of an email or other forms of asynchronous communication. By providing training on how to run a meeting effectively and efficiently when it is genuinely required, everyone will have a benchmark to follow."