Unnecessary meetings draining employee productivity: Report

Not only are employees sitting in on more meetings now, but those meetings are also getting longer.

Diverse Business People on a Meeting

Organizations are reaching a tipping point when it comes to workplace productivity, with large numbers of employees saying too much of their time is still spent on "work about work" rather than the skilled, strategic work they were hired to do, according to Asana’s latest Anatomy of Work global index.

The report comprises findings from a survey of 9,615 knowledge workers — commonly defined as employees whose jobs mainly involve acquiring and using information in a creative way — in the United States, UK, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan, and seeks to uncover some of the biggest barriers currently facing them in the workplace.

On average, those surveyed said that work about work takes up 58% of their workday, with skilled work taking up 33%, and strategic work just 9%.

Work about work, according to Asana, is all of the activities you do throughout the day that aren't the actual skilled work you were hired to do, such as marketing analysis or coding. Instead, it’s the mundane tasks that most people just assume come with the job.

The biggest time drain continues to be unnecessary meetings — 3.6 hours per week for those in senior leadership roles and 2.8 hours per week for knowledge workers — a figure that has grown since last year’s report. Executives were also 30% more likely to miss deadlines than the average worker because of too many video calls or meetings.

Furthermore, not only are employees now sitting in on more meetings, but those meetings are also getting longer. The survey found that across the board, more time is spent on audio, video, and in-person meetings than a year ago, with 32% of knowledge workers saying video calls are taking up more time and 22% saying the same for audio calls.

Knowledge workers surveyed for the report also estimate that 4.9 hours per week would be saved if their company had improved processes, such as streamlined application usage. The research found that the average number of apps used at work sits at 8.8 for knowledge workers and 10 for those at director level or higher.

Collaboration remains key to boosting productivity and growth

While unnecessary meetings are negatively affecting knowledge workers, having an effective cross-collaboration strategy in place provides clear benefits to both organizations and workers, with the report showing companies that prioritize collaboration are more likely to experience growth and see increased levels of productivity.

The survey found that among employees at what Asana labels as collaborative organizations, 92% said their work had value, compared to just 50% of workers at companies with weak collaborative practices.

Furthermore, 79% of workers at collaborative organizations said they feel well-prepared to respond to challenges, while 87% said their organization is able to meet customer expectations. In comparison, for employees at non-collaborative organizations, these figures stand at 20% and 37% respectively.

Given the current macroeconomic climate, growth is a major item on the agenda for businesses and the report showed that organizations who have effective collaboration strategies in place are more likely to experience growth than those who don’t, 55% compared to 25%.

Collaborative organizations can also benefit from higher levels of retention, particularly if employees are given clear, connected goals that are tied to overarching company objectives. The report showed that 87% of workers with clear goals said they could see themselves working at their current company for the next year — more than double of those who said their company had none.

The current economic uncertainty has required enterprises to re-imagine how teams collaborate to drive greater efficiency and growth, said Anne Raimondi, chief operating officer at Asana, in comments published alongside the report. “Leaders have an out-sized impact on creating smarter, more productive, ways for their teams to collaborate. Instead of adding meetings and apps to already overloaded employees, they can choose to innovate and create intentional, asynchronous modes of collaboration and innovation–making the most of their employees time and talent and delivering better results for their customers,” she said.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon