Professionals say too many meeting and calls hamper productivity

18 November 2019 2 min. read
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Too many pointless meeting and calls are hampering productivity, according to a recent survey of professionals from Korn Ferry. The organizational consulting firm polled 1,945 professionals in October and November to examine the perceived impact of meetings on worker productivity.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said that spending too much time in meetings and on calls distracts them from making an impact at work, with 34% of respondents saying they waste 2-5 hours per week on calls or meeting that don’t accomplish anything. Fifteen percent spend 5-10 hours per week on unproductive meetings or calls, and 6% spend more than 10 hours.

Even if workers know a meeting is going to be pointless, they will often still go, either due to obligation or because sometimes it’s nice to leave the cubicle. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they would still attend a meeting or call even if they knew it would be an unproductive use of their time.

Professionals say too many meeting and calls hamper productivity

“Too often, the answer to any work issue is ‘let’s meet.’ While collaboration is absolutely what drives innovation and success in today’s global marketplace, it’s time to get creative with how we use our time together,” said Cathi Rittelmann, a senior client partner at Korn Ferry.

“Meetings aren’t necessarily bad, but the way we prep and lead them can sometimes derail productivity. The bottom line is this: clear objectives, an agenda, and identified roles never go out of style.”

Most professionals (64%) said one-on-one conversations with a colleague lead to the greatest impact at work, while only 16% said meetings and calls do. Twenty percent said working alone leads to the greatest impact at work.

The largest proportion of respondents (38%) said that about 90% of their workday is spent on productive tasks, followed by 31% who said that approximately 70% of their day is spent on productive tasks. Eight percent were liars who said their entire workday was spent on productive tasks, while 3% were living the dream, with less than half their day spent on productive work tasks.

Most respondents recognized the productivity benefits of taking periodic breaks; 87% said that taking breaks from work tasks during the day makes them more productive, even though they are spending less time doing work.