By Daniel Hunter
Office workers waste more than a year of their lives attending unnecessary meetings, a new survey has concluded.
The study by officebroker.com found that workers estimate around one quarter of all the time spent in meetings could be saved.
With the average office worker attending 16 hours of meetings each week that means around four hours are wasted in pointless meetings.
That’s more than 200 hours a year or almost nine full 24-hour days. Over a career the total is even more shocking with the average worker sitting through around 9000 hours of needless meetings — a full year and ten days spent twiddling their thumbs.
For workers in the public sector the time spent in meetings was even higher — 22 hours a week on average with one third of that time estimated to be superfluous to requirements.
That means for public sector workers the career total of time wasted in pointless meetings is one full year and 322 full days.
Time is wasted by going round in endless circles, having irrelevant agenda items and hours of endless discussions without resolution.
One worker who took part in the study commented: “Meetings are important but sometimes they do go on forever. You always get one or two people who just want to use meetings as a chance to hear their own voice.
“Then there are times when it feels like you are in a meeting about future meetings. It can be mind numbingly tedious.”
Another respondent said: “I work for the local authority and the number of meetings I have to attend is quite unbelievable.
“I’m required at attend meetings just about every day of the week. Sometimes it feels like I spend more of my time inside meetings talking about my job than I do sat behind my desk doing it.
“This is my first role in the public sector and I’ve been quite shocked by the differences in working culture from the private sector. There is a lot more bureaucracy and a heck of a lot more meetings.”
A spokesman for officebroker.com who conducted the study, said: “Every organisation needs to hold meetings but strong management is required to ensure that the meetings add rather than detract from the effectiveness of the organisation overall.
“There is a risk that weak leadership can lead to meetings lasting far longer than they need to and thus actually reduce an organisation’s productivity.”