New Report Challenges Myths about Meetings

ShoreTel just released the results of a global survey regarding meeting habits and productivity. The Build a Better Meeting Challenge included questions about how many hours people spend in meetings each week, as well as their perceptions regarding that use of time. The results were correlated with each respondent’s generation (Baby Boomer, Gen X or Millennial), company size, industry and region.

The results were often surprising. While many people presume that there are too many meetings that get in the way of real work and that meetings generally are a waste of time, ShoreTel’s Build a Better Meeting Challenge found the opposite to be true. In fact, 76 percent of respondents said they spend one hour or less each weekday in meetings. Gen X’ers (those born between 1965 and 1979) were more likely than the other generations to spend more than nine hours per week in meetings (28 percent), as were people working in the technology sector (30 percent).

Most employees (61 percent) in small or startup businesses spend less than four hours per week in meetings, compared to 44 percent in midsize and 30 percent in enterprise organizations. By contrast, 37 percent of employees in enterprise organizations spend more than nine hours per week in meetings, compared to 21 percent in midsize and 16 percent in small or startup businesses.

Nevertheless, only 11 percent of respondents found meetings a “waste of time.” Forty percent said meetings were “productive” and 48 percent said they were “sort of productive.” Baby Boomers (those born between 1943 and 1964) were the most likely to think meetings were productive (47 percent). There appears to be no correlation between how people view meetings or meeting productivity and whether they work from home or in the office.

What do people do in meetings? The majority of respondents (67 percent) listen and take notes, while 25 percent get other work done. Only 8 percent say they are checking personal email, texting or engaging with social media during meetings.

Most respondents reported a preference for meeting in conference rooms (64 percent), a rate that was consistent across the generations. Millennials had the highest preference for attending via desk phone (24 percent), and respondent in the technology sector said they attend by phone or remotely half the time.

Organizations still need to take steps to improve meeting productivity and employee efficiency, particularly for remote and mobile workers. Although more than half of employees work remotely at least once per week, almost two-thirds said they attend meetings in person. Even when working from home, only 14 percent attend meetings remotely.

A unified communications (UC) platform can bring geographically dispersed teams together and help remote workers feel more included. UC brings together multiple modes of communications (such as voice, conferencing and instant messaging) and makes them accessible via a single interface. Employees can collaborate in the way that best meets their needs, whether they are in the office or attending the meeting remotely.

ShoreTel Connect is an end-to-end UC solution with a unique user experience that simplifies collaboration and adapts to individual preferences. Let IPC show you how ShoreTel’s collaboration technologies, built-in agenda tools and other intuitive features can help optimize meetings for everyone in the organization.