Tuesday, 28 October 2014 16:22

Meetings are a time sink: survey

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If you've ever sat through a meeting wondering "why am I here?" you're not alone. Two thirds of employees say meetings have little or no value.

Even though 66% of employees in Australia and New Zealand say at least half of all meetings have little or no value, 88% say they attend as many or more meetings than ever.

That's among the findings from a recent survey conducted by collaboration vendor LogMeIn and analyst firm Ovum.

The survey found that worldwide, when meetings start late the average delay is more than 10 minutes, and senior executives are losing around three hours a week - around five days a year - as the result of meetings starting late.

To some extent, that's fairly easily fixed. If you don't start a meeting on time, it punishes the punctual and rewards the tardy. That is the opposite of what you should do, as it only encourages more people to be late and so things go from bad to worse. So start as many of your meetings as possible on time, regardless of who hasn't shown up. If it's a one-on-one meeting and the other party hasn't given you advance notice or proffered a reasonable excuse, insist on rescheduling - that can be a problem if your boss is chronically late for meetings, but you'd hope that he or she would respect your desire to be a productive employee!

The survey also found that virtual meetings are becoming increasingly common, especially among younger employees. But videoconferening is still relatively infrequent, with 62% of respondents saying they infrequently or never use it.

Interestingly, among the most common reasons for meetings starting late included technical issues such as the need to install or update software, or difficulties with the software.

And even where meetings are held face-to-face, two-thirds of employees in Australia and New Zealand take at least one of their computers, smartphones or tablets into meetings. One-third reported using device-to-device screen sharing instead of video projectors.

The survey report 'Collaboration 2.0: Death of the Web Conference (As We Know It)' is available here (registration required).

"Mobility, consumerised IT environments, and highly connected employees define the modern business and have fuelled fundamental changes in how today's worker collaborates with colleagues and customers," said LogMeIn CEO Sean Ford.

"This research provides an insightful view into the drivers of that evolution, the rapid proliferation of meeting types and the opportunities to empower efficient collaboration across the business."

Almost 4000 full-time employees were surveyed, including 1,170 in the Asia Pacific region.

Remember that five days lost to poor meeting punctuality? LogMeIn is running a competition with a $4,000, five-day holiday for two at the winner's choice of destination.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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