91% of UK workers admit a third of each meeting is a waste of company time

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 12:13 am

New research from digital print and design company MOO, found that as a nation we are extremely unproductive when it comes to meetings. From poor timekeeping to small talk, MOO analysed the anatomy of the hour-long meeting to break down how that time was really being spent. 91% of UK workers admit that a third (20 minutes) of each 60 minute meeting was a waste of company time.

Astonishingly 90% of UK workers are waiting up-to 20 minutes for late comers to show up to meetings. Over half (55%) admit sometimes it can take up-to 20 minutes to find a suitable meeting room. Connectivity issues are a big issue for meeting attendees with 51% of people revealing they waste up-to 10 minutes trying to connect into conference calls or waiting for others to connect.

The main reasons people are wasting time in meetings include:

  1. Waiting for people to arrive (90%)
  2. Setting up technology (70%)
  3. Dialling in to a conference call or waiting for others to dial in (59%)
  4. Locating the meeting room (55%)
  5. Connectivity issues (51%)

The number of meetings we’re expected to attend on a daily basis also presents challenges to both company and individual productivity, with 63% of Brits attending at least one meeting a day and a third (36%) attending between two and four. While 10% admit to spending between 9 and 14 hours per week in meetings, this varies wildly across professions. Those working in human resources spend an average of six hours of their working week in meetings, while retail, catering and leisure workers spend almost half this amount (3.6 hours) during an average week.

The number of distractions in meetings has also increased with 50% of people stating they cannot switch off from sending and receiving work emails during an hour-long meeting. Just under half (47%) of UK workers admit to checking personal messages when they should be concentrating during meetings.

Choosing where to sit also posed problems for some professionals with 38% claiming to spend at least five minutes of their one-hour meeting considering the best position. A third (34%) also said they can spend up to ten minutes discussing and adjusting the temperature of a meeting room before they are ready to start.

“We love meetings, but only when they’re run brilliantly,” said a MOO spokesperson. “We hope these findings will encourage everyone to work smarter when it comes to getting the most out of meetings.”

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