These meeting statistics are from a variety of academic research studies, lists, and polls. The aggregated numbers address unproductive meetings statistics, statistics on time spent in meetings, and the statistical cost of meetings.
Harvard Business Review
We surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries:
- 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work.
- 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient.
- 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking.
- 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together
At a financial and regulatory consultancy we studied, for example, three months after managers began to rethink the firm’s approach to meetings, a survey showed that employees perceived significant improvements in
- team collaboration (a 42% increase)
- psychological safety to speak up and express opinions (a 32% increase)
- team performance (a 28% increase)
- ratings of satisfaction with work/life balance rose from 62% to 92%
In a recent survey we conducted with nearly 200 senior executives from diverse industries, only 17% reported that their meetings are generally productive uses of group and individual time.
January 10, 2019
Doodle, the meeting scheduling platform, interviewed more than 6,500 customers in the U.S., Germany, Switzerland and UK as well as examined 19 million meetings arranged in 2018.
- Pointless meetings are costing companies and business professionals time and money–$399 billion in 2019 in the U.S.
- Professionals spend 2 hours a week, or 13 days a year, in pointless meetings;
- The average business pro spends three hours a week in meetings;
- 24 billion hours will be lost to meetings in 2019;
- 34 percent of American workers consider unnecessary meetings to be the biggest costs to their companies;
- 70 percent of respondents prefer morning meetings and 76 percent wanted face-to-face meetings.
A new report from the world’s leading scheduling platform, Doodle, interviewed over 6,500 professionals across the UK, Germany and the USA and examined 19 million meetings arranged through its platform in 2018.
- Professionals spend 2 hours a week in pointless meetings, which will add up to over $541bn worth of resource in 2019
- The average professional spends three hours a week in meetings – making two thirds of all meetings unnecessary or a waste of time
- Cumulatively, 24bn hours will be lost to pointless meetings in the next year
- More than a third (37%) of professionals consider unnecessary meetings to be the biggest cost to their organisation
- 76% of professionals prefer face to face meetings to calls or video chats
- Mornings are overwhelmingly the best time to hold a meeting – with 70% of professionals preferring meetings between 8am and 12pm
- Delving deeper into the specific personal impact, over a quarter (26%) stated that poorly organised meetings impacted their client relationships, while others feel they create confusion in the workplace (43%), and impact their ability to actually do their work (44%).
- Supporting this is the finding that a third (33%) of professionals find themselves unable to contribute to most of the meetings they attend – suggesting over-invitation is a major waste of time at work.
- What makes for a good meeting?
- Setting clear objectives – 72%
- Setting a clear agenda – 67%
- Not having too many people in the room – 35%
- What makes a bad meeting?
- People taking phone calls or texting during meetings – 55%
- Participants interrupting each other – 50%
- People not listening to the contributions of others – 49%
- People arriving late or leaving early – 49%
- People talking about nothing for long periods of time – 46%
The state of meetings report comprises data from three sources – an in-depth Nielsen study of 1,000 professionals (conducted August 2018), a survey of 5,528 professionals form the UK, Switzerland Germany & the USA (conducted October – December 2018), and analysis of over 19 million meeting responses shared via the Doodle platform in 2018.
- Meeting face to face is vital, with professionals preferring this method over all other meeting types.
- Two thirds of professionals from the UK, Germany and USA all feel that face to face meetings make it easier to make important decisions. 100% of respondents also agreed that face to face meetings help them understand other peoples’ opinions and arguments better.
- The average meeting lasts around an hour, with 54% of professionals saying their average meeting takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
- Meeting length shows a strong correlation to an individual’s level of seniority, with those earning over €51,000 per annum twice as likely to have hour long meetings as those earning less than €28,000 per annum.
- Those earning higher salaries also tend to be more active participants in meetings, with just 8% of professionals earning more than €51,000 per annum saying they aren’t usually an active participant in work meetings, compared to 18% of those earning less than €28,000 per annum.
- British professionals spend the most time in meetings every week, with nearly a third (30%) of respondents reporting they spend five or more hours in meetings per week. 23% of professionals in the USA spend this time in meetings, while the 23% of German professionals spend 2 and a half hours in meetings every week.
- Busy professionals (those attending five or more meetings a week), are also far more likely to actively participate in the discussion — with 70% of busy professionals playing a key role compared to 49% of professionals attending less than five meetings a week.
- Our Nielsen research also discovered that 25% of professionals in the USA have more than 15 meetings, catch-ups, calls and internal meetings every week, accounting for 20m working professionals.
- Predictably, those spending time in lots of meetings feel improperly attended meetings are the biggest cost to their company, more so than those attending less than five meetings per week.
- Interestingly, busy professionals are less fussy about their preferred meeting method. More respondents who attend five or more meetings per week believe that video conferences, conference calls and one on one phone calls can be effective methods of meeting. This likely reflects the fact that they place greater importance on the quality of a meeting’s attendants, rather than the format itself.
Statistics about time spent in meetings:
- 41% 31–60 mins
- 39% 16–30 mins
- 4% 91+ mins
- 3% 0– 5 mins
- 13% 61–90 mins
Meetings stats about personal impact:
- Nearly two thirds (71%) of professionals lose time every week due to unnecessary or cancelled meetings. More German professionals (74%) reported regularly losing time to poorly organised meetings than those in the UK (72%) or the USA (68%).
- This is likely to be a reflection of the fact that Germans tend to be more involved in meetings they attend, with 65% of Germans saying they play an active role in meetings they attend, compared to just 48% of British professionals and 51% of those in the USA.
- Professionals losing time due to poorly organized meetings by country:
- 74% – Germany
- 72% – UK
- 68% – USA
- 100% of respondents described poorly organised meetings as a waste of time or money. The effect of these is felt in a number of ways, with over a quarter (26%) of respondents stating that poorly organised meetings impact their client relationships.
- Poorly organised or cancelled meetings pose the biggest time drain to businesses in the UK, with 40% of employees believing this is the biggest threat to their company’s time. 38% of Germans see this as the biggest threat, while 34% of Americans believe it’s the biggest threat to their company.
- Consequences of poorly organized meetings:
- 44% – Poorly organised meetings mean I don’t have enough time to do the rest of my work
- 43% – Unclear actions lead to confusion
- 38% – Bad organisation results in a loss of focus on projects
- 31% – Irrelevant attendees slow progress
- 26% – Inefficient processes weaken client/supplier relationships
November 28, 2018 – To develop these meeting statistics, Circle Research and Barco surveyed nearly 3,000 white-collar workers in Europe, the Pacific, the US, China and India. The research sample was aged between 21 and 65 and was employed across a range of organization sizes, industries, job seniority and roles.
- Meeting statistics show employees spend an average of one day a week in meetings, or 50 days a year
- 51% of employees are invited to meetings that are irrelevant to them, a misuse of time and resources.
- 37% of workers admit to using whatever technology is necessary to get the job done, even if it’s not secure.
- 61% of C-suite executives are often unclear what they’re in a meeting to achieve.
- One of the report’s most significant findings was the number of meetings people have – on average 10 per week.
- The average meeting was found to last 48 minutes.
- Ten 48-minute meetings a week adds up to one day, or 50 days a year. The research also revealed that over half (51%) of people are asked to attend meetings that are irrelevant to them. And, in the case of the most highly paid, C-suite executives, 61% are unsure what they’re being asked to achieve when they get there. That’s a lot of expensive, wasted time.
- The meeting statistics showed that only 30% of meeting time is spent working towards meeting objectives.
- 11% of time is spent waiting for someone to arrive
- 12% setting up troublesome technology
- 13% discussing topics that are not part of the meeting objectives – including assigning responsibilities such as note taking and deciding what the objectives of the meeting should be.
- The majority of employees interviewed across all countries and regions (57%) wanted meetings to be shorter and fewer.
March 20, 2013
Steven Rogelberg and his colleagues attempted to estimate the base rate of meeting lateness via a survey of 195 employees across South-eastern USA, reporting on over 300 meetings.
- Participants admitted arriving late an average of 5 per cent of the time. Multiply by the number of attendees at a typical meeting (the average in this sample was 8).
- This makes the odds of a single late-comer high and helps explain the finding that 37 per cent of meetings on average started late.
- Part of the problem is that people vary in their definition of lateness. In another study, Rogelberg’s team surveyed 665 international participants (average age 37) via StudyResponse.Com with an open-ended question about their understanding of meeting lateness.
- Just over a fifth of the sample defined lateness as arriving after the scheduled start time (which was the objective definition used in the survey into the base rate of lateness). Another fifth defined lateness as a certain fixed time after the scheduled start – in other words, they were allowing for a “grace” period, varying from a few minutes to more than ten minutes. Thirty-two per cent defined lateness as arrival after the meeting had actually got underway. Some (6 per cent) defined lateness simply as “keeping others waiting”, or “interrupting the flow” (5 per cent). Finally, a minority (3 per cent) saw lateness in terms of whether a person was “ready to go” once the meeting had started.
January 27, 2014
This poll was conducted exclusively for FuzeBox by SurveyMonkey Audience [hot link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/audience]. The more than 2,000 respondents were randomly selected and are a representative national sample of information workers in the U.S. They completed the online survey on November 19th 20th, 2013. Our reported data has a 3 percent margin of error with a 97 percent confidence level. Because of rounding, some percentages may not add up to 100 percent.
- 92 percent of U.S. information workers confess to multitasking during meetings; 41 percent admit to doing so often or all the time.
- Considering the amount of time we spend in meetings, this is a significant drain on resources and productivity – 52 percent of survey respondents spend 13 hours in meetings weekly and 34 percent spend between 4 and 10 hours in meetings.
- Employees admit to a range of multitasking activities during meetings, the most common included checking email (69%), working on unrelated projects (49%) and eating (44%).
- At the root of the problem is a lack of face to face communication that holds employees accountable and reduces multitasking. For example, 56 percent say they multitask most often on phone conferences, and that number drops to 16 percent during in person meetings and most significantly to 4 percent during video conferences. Apart from being more engaged during video conferences, employees are also more prepared — 63 percent admitted to spending more time preparing for a video conference call than an in person meeting.
- 57 percent would travel less and would telecommute more if given the option to video conference, and 67 percent would have deeper engagement with other employees and would feel more comfortable working in remote offices more often.