Time Spend in Advance of Meetings - United States
US workers spend, on average, 4 hours a week preparing for status meetings, and 5 hours attending different meetings, with middle management spending up to 12-14 hours in meetings and senior management spending 50% of their total working time in meeting attendance. The growing presence of technology makes available a wide variety of meeting formats, like audio and video conference, which facilitates the increased number of meetings reported annually. Tracking productivity in these meetings still remains a challenge that needs to be addressed by organizations.
The research for this request led us to several sources of pre-compiled reports about meeting trends in the US. There was a lot of agreement and correlation between the statistics we found, so we believe them to portray an accurate picture of the situation in white-collar industries. The information we found was highly aggregated, and there was not enough detail available on specific types of meetings, industries or professionals to neatly segment. We decided to forego the spreadsheet request and instead answer the query through a summary of key findings.
MEETINGS IN THE US
A study on office productivity found that 56% of office workers in the US spend, on average, 4 hours per week preparing for status meetings, which is 10% of a 40-hour work week, with the amount of time spent preparing for meetings depending on the type of meeting (employees spend twice as much time preparing for an in-person meeting than they do for an audio or video conference meeting). The amount of time spent preparing for meetings is approximately equal to the average time spent weekly in meetings: 5 hours. The more time spent in preparation for a meeting highly correlates with meeting success and productivity. Having an agenda, handouts and presentations available for meeting attendees can set structure, pace and goals, which helps ensure as little time as possible is wasted. 61% of employed adults in the US report they attend status meetings for updates on specific projects, and spend 4.1 hours a week in these meetings. 62% of workers report also attending general purpose meetings, devoting an average 3.9 hours per week to these meetings.
Middle managers tend to spent up to 35% of their time in meetings (or 12 hours a week in the private sector, 14 hours a week in the public sector) while upper management spends up to 50% of their time in meetings. When aggregating all the time spent preparing for and in meetings, 15% of all an organization's time is spent in meetings which adds up to a loss of productivity of USD $37 billion across US businesses. In-person meetings, if attendants need to travel, will incur the highest costs. A study done by Verizon showed that if a 2-hour meeting requires 4 out of 5 attendants to travel, the company will incur in USD $5,000 per meeting. A video conference meeting for the same 5 attendants will run the company up to USD $1,700. In contrast, a 5-person, 2-hour audio conference will cost the company USD$689.
While the number of meetings scheduled in organizations has increased (46% of professionals report attending more meetings today than a year ago), there has been no significant positive correlation found between more meetings and higher organizational productivity. The increased number of meetings means up to 70% of employees across industries lose on average 15 minutes of productivity a day simply looking for a place to meet. While 89% of workers believe technology will solve many of these problems, current technology still has its drawbacks. Tardiness to video conference meetings is one of many aspects that affects productivity, with 32% of conference calls attendees reporting that they waste 5 minutes waiting for members to join the call. Remote meeting members are multitasking during conference calls 74% of the time, whether it be answering emails (work and personal), eating lunch, or even watching TV.
Workers in the US typically spend 4 hours per week preparing for meetings, and an additional 5 hours attending to meetings. These time commitments grow for managers and senior managers. The number of meetings is growing throughout the US, and challenges in productivity and logistics are arising. However, most people are confident that through the use of technology we will be able to overcome these challenges and regain some of our lost productivity.