Why most meetings are "unproductive"

Research reveals that 67% of meetings attended by the average small business employee are a waste of time because they don't achieve their goal.

According to the findings of new research by STL Microsoft Training, the average SME employee attends 207 meetings every year, of which 139 (67%) are "unproductive".

Employers typically pay £28 for every hour spent per employee in a meeting, according to the Harvard Business Review meeting cost calculator. By this measure, STL has calculated that up to £973,000 is being wasted in pointless meetings each year within the UK's SME community.

The research finds that key problems in meetings include: not knowing what needs to be done; picking the easiest tasks; being distracted by interruptions; saying yes too often; not delegating; not setting goals, not taking breaks and procrastinating.

To help reduce the cost of wasted time in meetings, STL Microsoft Training encourages employers to follow these five steps:

  • Set a clear agenda and establish exactly what you are trying to accomplish;
  • Ask yourself: Do all of these people really need to attend? Or could some of them just receive a brief email summary or quick call after the meeting?;
  • Schedule a 30-minute meeting instead of an hour. Meetings are often stretched out to fill the allocated space;
  • Always start on time and don't wait for late-comers;
  • Don't hesitate to ask people to leave their phones, laptops and tablets at their desk when they come to your meeting. Mobile devices are one of the biggest distractions in the workplace.
  • In some instances I have just pop there at their office and I have been seen in 15 minutes. is faster then the GP.