Are meetings killing our working day?

Author Image for Jack Preston


Content Manager


Richard Branson

16 hours a week, 200 hours a year, 322 working days in our lifetime according to new research we are wasting our careers in meetings.

The primary culprits for such excessive timewasting seem to be going round in circles, having irrelevant agenda items and hours of endless discussions without resolution.

Much like the excessive email culture, which has infiltrated offices across the world, the pointless meeting has seemingly become a mainstay in the modern workplce. Not even the advent of out of office working has affected the deluge, with technological advancements such as Skype and conference calls only encouraging workers to schedule in that must have appointment.

91% of us have apparently daydreamed in a meeting, while 39% office workers admit to having slept in one and 96% have missed a meeting. It seems as though there is a general acceptance amongst many workers that meetings are nothing more than blockage in the working day.

But how can this be changed? For Richard Branson, variety is seemingly the key: Meetings are an important part of any business, but they are not always the best use of everybodys time and effort. I have never worked out of a traditional office, and always try to find ways to freshen meetings up, wrote the Virgin Founder in a recent LinkedIn blog.

A change of scenery and a bit of fun does wonders for getting people thinking differently and loosening up! Im very fortunate to have the opportunity to invite people to Necker Island we sometimes take things to the pool But wherever you are, be innovative with your space. Try a stand-up meeting, or leave the desks and head to the park. Get out of your everyday environment.

In an attempt to evoke change in working practices many companies have tried introducing walking meetings, stand-up meetings, meetings inside thinking pods essentially any conceivable variation on the tried and tested format. Although as Branson points out, it can often not so much be the where as the what which is the problem, with companies needing to give their employees freedom to work as they see fit.

You need to give your people the freedom to get creative, to come up with their own ideas and run with them. Your company should act as a springboard for ambitious employees, not a set of shackles.

Have you got any tips for getting the most out of meetings? Let us know below

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