Many employees believe their productivity is hampered by team meetings they deem “pointless,” new research finds.
Project management platform Asana has released its fourth annual Anatomy of Work Index, surveying nearly 10,000 knowledge workers from around the world.
It found that 58% of an employee’s day was spent in unnecessary meetings, rather than the actual work they were hired to do. Although this figure is lower than in 2021, it has slightly increased since 2022, meaning that this could represent a worrying new trend for companies, if the characterization of these meetings by employees is correct.
Importance of cooperation
The report, which began its investigation in November 2022, found that 2.8 hours a week of an employee’s shift was spent in “pointless” meetings, up from 2.7 hours last year. It’s even worse for senior executives, who spend 3.6 hours a week in such meetings.
More worryingly, executives were 30% more likely to miss deadlines than other employees due to the excessive number of meetings they had to attend.
32% of employees say video calls are taking up more time than last year, and 22% said the same for audio calls. This fact goes hand in hand with the number of video conferencing and other apps used to conduct these meetings.
On average, knowledge workers use nearly 9 separate apps to communicate with colleagues in different ways, rising to 10 for drivers or above. This again had a negative impact on productivity: 15% of knowledge workers using between 6 and 15 of these apps miss messages and notifications that require action, and those using 16 or more miss 25%.
Employees also estimate that improved processes in their workflow could give them an additional 4.2 hours per week to spend on more important work, which equates to more than six work weeks over an entire year.
When it comes to online collaboration, just over half of employees at collaborating companies reported revenue growth over the past three years. Only 28% reported such growth in companies where collaboration was weak.
In addition, 79% of collaborative companies felt ready to take on new challenges and 92% felt their work had real value. In contrast, at companies with a weak collaborative culture, employees were four times less prepared for challenges and only 50% found value in their jobs.
“The current economic uncertainty requires companies to reimagine how teams work together to drive greater efficiency and growth,” said Asana COO Anne Raimondi.
They also highlighted the importance of business leaders in paving the way for better collaborative practices:
“Instead of adding meetings and apps to an already overworked workforce, they can choose to innovate and create intentional, asynchronous ways of collaboration and innovation, making the most of their employees’ time and talent and delivering better results for their clients.”