Productive Meeting or Waste of Time?

May 19, 2009 ( - Managers interviewed recently by OfficeTeam said 28% of work meetings are a waste of time.

Additionally, almost half of respondents (45%) said they believe employees would be more productive if their company banned meetings one day a week.

According to an OfficeTeam press release, when asked, “How much more or less productive do you believe your employees would be if your company banned meetings one day a week?” 150 senior executives at the nation’s 1,000 largest companies responded:

  • Much more productive – 13%,
  • Somewhat more productive – 32%,
  • No change – 46%,
  • Somewhat less productive – 4%,
  • Much less productive – 3%,
  • Don’t know/no answer – 2%.

OfficeTeam offered five signs that a meeting could be a “time waster:”

  • The agenda becomes too long – organizers should consider whether it would be better to hold smaller, more focused gatherings.
  • It’ll take more than an hour – if there’s no way to condense, consider snacks, interactive elements or multiple speakers to keep people engaged.
  • The participant list is extensive – it may signal an overly ambitious meeting, or one where people are being invited as a courtesy, rather than because they need to attend.
  • There’s a large PowerPoint deck involved – visuals can be useful for reinforcing information, but it’s possible much of the information could be shared prior to the meeting, and the gathering then could be used to field questions or highlight the most important data.
  • It’s a habit – think about whether regular gatherings are necessary or could be held less frequently.