Kortrijk, Belgium, 28 November 2018 – Collaboration is essential to business success, and meetings, although time-consuming, play an integral part in delivering business outcomes. But meetings can become experiences people would rather avoid when they’re not held for the right reasons, or run efficiently. Barco found that employees spend on average one day a week in meetings – much of which is wasted time – and they’ve been working to understand what businesses can do to reclaim the usefulness of meetings, and how meeting time can be reduced.
Joining forces with Circle Research, Barco surveyed nearly 3,000 white-collar workers in Europe, the Pacific, the US, China and India. The research sample was aged between 21 and 65 and was employed across a range of organization sizes, industries, job seniority and roles.
One of the report’s most significant findings was the number of meetings people have – on average 10 per week – and the length of those meetings. Most booking tools only allow standard one-hour time slots, yet the average meeting was found to last 48 minutes – leaving 12 minutes that could be better utilized.
Ten 48-minute meetings a week adds up to one day, or 50 days a year. The research also revealed that over half (51%) of people are asked to attend meetings that are irrelevant to them. And, in the case of the most highly paid, C-suite executives, 61% are unsure what they’re being asked to achieve when they get there. That’s a lot of expensive, wasted time.
What’s more, the research showed that only 30% of meeting time is spent working towards meeting objectives. 11% of time is spent waiting for someone to arrive, 12% setting up troublesome technology, and 13% discussing topics that are not part of the meeting objectives – including assigning responsibilities such as note taking and deciding what the objectives of the meeting should be. Clearly roles and objectives should be set in advance.
It’s no surprise then that the majority of employees interviewed across all countries and regions (57%) wanted meetings to be shorter and fewer.
Simple intuitive technology is a great enabler of collaboration, but many businesses are failing their employees with meeting technology that doesn’t meet their requirements. One in three workers says they’re more productive using their own technology rather than what’s on offer in the workplace. As a result, 57% of respondents said they used their own device at work, with speed and ease-of-use being the main drivers, and 37% admit to using whatever tech is necessary – even when it’s not secure.
This throws up problems for IT managers who are trying to maintain security policies, so it’s important to ensure collaboration technology meets the needs of both employees and employers.
For today’s employees, being productive means having the freedom to work in an environment conducive to collaboration. This no longer means just sitting at a desk in an office. Modern smart devices allow people to stay in touch with their colleagues anywhere. In the report, 50% collaborated with their team from home, or from a client’s office (35%), or even worked from coffee shops (27%).
The research also revealed that, despite the popularity of remote working, three-quarters of those asked (76%) were clear on the value of having a fixed place to go to, called work. The office is therefore alive and thriving, and more and more designers are considering new meeting environments in modern office layouts, with huddle spaces a common addition. Survey respondents showed overwhelming support for these unbookable, informal meeting spaces, with 82% of people saying that every office should have at least one huddle space.
If huddle spaces are the new innovation of meetings, then collaboration technology that spans open accessible meeting spaces will surely be the driver of productivity and faster business outcomes. In the survey, 75% of respondents said that huddle spaces stimulated creativity.
And it’s in this area where new technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality could deliver the experience that focusses energies and brings ideas to life. Of those the research team asked, 70% think voice recognition will make meetings more efficient, and 75% are excited about what the future of collaboration will look like.
In the resulting white paper, Barco identifies five main reasons why employees so often feel disgruntled with meetings, and why current meeting formats are so inefficient. The report also explores ways in which businesses can re-engage with their workforce by running meetings that encourage the productive exchange of ideas.
To find out how to make meetings matter again, download the white paper Five Steps to the Perfect Meeting