An article headline from TechRepublic caught my attention: “Do you spend 30% of your week in meetings? Survey says many people do”

Here are some stats from the survey:

  • Mondays are the most popular day of week to schedule meetings
  • Wednesdays have the longest meetings on average
  • Audio-related issues are the biggest pain point for video conferencing
  • 82.9% believe not all video meetings require video

Beyond these interesting and relatable statistics, the TechRepublic article addresses the current state of meeting overload and virtual meeting fatigue. Many companies have moved to remote or hybrid workplace models, an accelerated change brought on by the pandemic and a trend that is likely to remain. As a result of this shift to remote work, meetings have steadily grown in frequency and duration to offset for the loss of in-person interactions

Various studies have concluded that depending on an employee’s role, anywhere from 30-50% of their time is spent in meetings. Research has also shown that meetings can reduce productivity and morale. A fascinating study conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review focused on companies that instituted meeting-free days and the ensuing impact. Their research found that upon introducing at least one no-meeting day per week, key workplace metrics such as autonomy, communication, engagement, and satisfaction all improved. These changes resulted in boosted productivity and decreased stress. The authors wrote, “While it may seem counterintuitive, our research concluded that having too many meetings detracts from effective collaboration, derails workers during their most productive hours, and interrupts people’s train of thought.”

MIT Sloan Management Review_Chart

As an owner and president of a company, these kinds of employee KPIs are always top of mind. Here at Terrapin Technologies, we continually focus on finding ways to be more efficient and productive. Coincidentally, within this last year, we have focused on reducing calendar overload. At the start of the pandemic, we shifted to a remote workplace, and inevitably our calendars were filled with recurring meetings. While these helped us stay connected at first, they started to impact our productivity. Sure, we need meetings to discuss things and stay updated, but we were feeling the effects of meeting fatigue like so many others. One helpful change we made was freeing our Fridays from recurring meetings. Another change we implemented was being more strategic and intentional about the types of meetings we held, who attended, and when to have them. Instituting these changes allowed us to have a greater amount of dedicated time to concentrate on work. As a data-focused company, we value data-driven research to guide our decision making. The MIT study has renewed some good conversations and has given us much to consider on the importance of being intentional about our meetings.

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