Employees find work meetings pointless and stressful

Many workers admit to being bored or distracted during meetings, and let their attention wander

Four out of 10 (43%) UK employees find most work meetings pointless, according to research from hotel chain Radisson Blu UK.

The Meetings Psychology Study found that almost a quarter (23%) admit to being easily distracted and bored during conference calls and colleague get-togethers, and a further 13% confessed to doodling instead of taking notes.

As part of the study, associate lecturer in consumer behaviour at Goldsmiths University Patrick Fagan studied 25 groups of volunteers. Each group of five was placed in one of three everyday work scenarios, which included a video conference call, a standard meeting room (with formal seating and neutral colour tones), and an ‘enhanced’ meeting room that had walls to write on, bright colours, and a flexible furniture layout.

The study found that when meeting face-to-face in an enhanced meeting room idea generation produced a ROI 61% higher than a video conference call, and 31% higher than a standard meeting room.

Meanwhile, separate research from electronics manufacturer Barco has revealed that 86% of employees experience serious 'meeting stress' when grappling with technology during meetings.

Where office workers struggled with issues such as sharing screens and finding the right cables for presentations their heart rates could rise as high as 179 beats per minute, compared to a normal, unstressed resting rate of around 60 to 100 beats per minute.

David Lewis, neuropsychologist and director of Mindlab International, emphasised employers' responsibility here. “Removing these stresses from workers should be a top priority for businesses,” he said.