We spend hours and hours of our professional lives in meetings. It is difficult to picture any work without them. However, not all of them are effective and helpful. Besides that, employees most often need to prepare some input before attending, which takes them away from productive work. Hence, most of these meetings fall into the category of lost time.
In accordance with meeting statistics, the coronavirus pandemic has increased the strain numerous meetings put on employees. Now, millions of workers worldwide work remotely, joining video calls to discuss business activities on a daily basis. Check out these stats to learn more about the state of meetings today.
Meeting Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Employees spend over two hours per week on pointless meetings. (Leaderonomics)
- The US workers spend over a billion hours per year attending meetings. (Zippia)
- Ineffective meetings cost companies around $238 billion per year. (Inc)
- Around 32% of workers in the US, most of the time, feel like the meetings could have been an email. (Tech Republic)
- With 89%, team meetings are the most common type of meetings. (Fellow)
- 76% of employees prefer face-to-face meetings. (Otter)
- 33% of participants respond to emails while at an online meeting. (Leaderonomics)
- The video conferencing market is set to reach $9.2 billion by 2026. (Globe Newswire)
General Meeting Statistics
1. Employees spend over two hours per week in pointless meetings.
A survey of over 6,500 employees in the US, the UK, and Germany show that the average time spent at work in pointless meetings is over two hours. In fact, every year, employees waste 24 billion hours in meetings. In turn, it is a waste of $541 billion in resources.
2. The average employee has around eight meetings weekly.
This translates into a minimum of one meeting per day, and the more senior the employee is, the more meetings they attend. Therefore, executives participate in at least 12 meetings weekly.
3. The US workers spend over a billion hours per year attending meetings.
Based on statistics on workplace meetings, the average worker spends a minimum of three hours in meetings per week. Often, it’s even more. In fact, 30% of employees reported spending over five hours in meetings weekly. Taking this into account, it’s no wonder that people spend a billion hours per year participating in meetings.
4. 41% of meetings last between 31 and 60 minutes.
Research suggests that the time spent in meetings depends on their type. Typically, most meetings last between 31 and 60 minutes. Following this category are the meetings that last from 16 to 30 minutes (39%). Only 13% of meetings last between 61 and 90 minutes, while 4% are prolonged to more than 91 minutes. Similarly, only 3% last less than 15 minutes, time spent in meetings statistics show.
5. 37% of employees believe that unnecessary meetings are the most serious cost for their organization.
Time spent in meetings affects the company’s productivity and, in turn, its profits. This has become a serious issue with the global shift from in-person to virtual meetings. Video fatigue and burnout have become a common vocabulary. Typically, most employees lose focus 30-40 minutes into the call. Their concentration deteriorates and, as a result, their tasks may suffer.
6. Recent research has shown that 55 million meetings occur every day in the US.
In line with recent business meeting statistics, 55 million meetings happen in the US daily. But, most importantly, the majority of them tend to be ineffective. Some older stats showed that Americans had participated in around 11 million meetings in the past. However, this figure turned out to be much higher later.
7. Ineffective meetings cost companies around $238 billion per year.
Most people spend around 12 out of 40 hours a week getting ready for meetings and attending them. As a result, productivity suffers, because the cost of ineffective meetings is time and money. Moreover, time spent in meetings statistics show that most people don’t feel they achieved anything in these meetings.
8. 15% of an average organization’s time is spent in meetings.
Looking at the overall picture and the time employees and executives from a single organization spend in meetings, the conclusion is staggering. Around 15% of an organization’s collective time is the percentage of time spent in meetings. Today, with the expansion of remote work, executives are spending even more time in meetings since the organizing costs have dropped. So senior execs spend over two days per week participating in meetings with three or more co-workers.
9. Upper management spends up to 50% of their time in meetings.
Executives lose most of their time spent in meetings, statistics confirm. Basically, middle managers spend about 35% of their total time in meetings, while upper managers half of their time. For things to be even worse, most of these meetings don’t result in a beneficial outcome.
10. 91% of employees have daydreamed while attending meetings.
Recent research suggests that most employees wander off during unproductive meetings. This results in a waste of time, unfinished tasks, and more costs for the company. For reference, 39% of employees have even slept during meetings, while 45% felt overwhelmed by their number. Further, according to meetings statistics, 73% have done other work during meetings, while 47% complain they are the number one time-wasters.
11. 17% of attendees rated their meetings good to excellent.
Despite the common knowledge that most employees hate meetings, the study conducted by Steven Rogelberg demonstrated that productive staff meetings are not just a myth. So, when asked about their thoughts on meetings, 17% claimed they were good to excellent, while 42% believed they were good. Just 25% were neutral, and 15% gave poor ratings.
12. 65% of senior managers claim that meetings prevent them from conducting their work.
Managers genuinely agree that meetings take too much of their time based on meeting statistics. For 71%, they are ineffective and come at the cost of productivity, while 64% said they affect deep thinking. Finally, 62% believe meetings represent missed opportunities to bring teams closer together.
13. Only 37% of US employees stated that their meetings had a clear agenda.
Research on time spent in meetings conducted on 250 US employees indicated that only a third of workers had meetings with an agenda. Having an effective agenda can change the outcome of any meeting. However, according to statistics on ineffective meetings, most of them are without one, which dooms them unproductive from the start.
14. Every 30 minutes of a meeting require a minimum of 30 minutes of preparation.
Both employees and managers spend some time preparing for meetings rather than just attending them. This automatically leads to wasting more time, especially if they don’t have a positive outcome. Sometimes, people even have meetings about meetings, trying to get ready, especially when preparing a presentation to the management.
15. Around 32% of workers in the US feel most of the time that a meeting could have been an email.
Moreover, 42% feel like this sometimes. Statistics on ineffective meetings show that only 6% of surveyed workers in the US never feel their meetings could have been emails.
16. The average meeting length dwindled by 20.1% between 2020 and 2021.
Despite the fact that the average time spent in meetings per week increased in this period, their length got shorter. The net effect was that people spent 11.5% less time in meetings. For reference, the length of meetings declined significantly in European cities such as Zurich, Oslo, and Brussels. Meeting duration declined in US cities such as Chicago, Washington DC, and NY too but to a lesser extent, facts about meetings reveal.
17. 42% of those who value meetings consider them vital to achieving results.
Although most people feel meetings are necessary, those who value them are divided on their importance. So 42% feel they are crucial to achieving results, while 44% believe they can achieve results without attending too many of them. Opinions vary based on work role differentiation too. So 50% of managers find meetings critical to complete their work, while only 36% of specialists feel the same.
18. 43% of women actively participate in meetings.
Based on statistics on workplace meetings, the engagement varies between men and women. Namely, women are more active participants in meetings, unlike 32% of men who can say the same. The level of engagement can depend on how frequently a participant attends meetings. So 43% of sporadic meeting-goers participate more actively than 21% of frequent meeting-goers.
19. With 89%, team meetings are the most common ones.
Information on the state of meetings shows that team meetings belong to the most common category. They are used to exchange info and key messages and receive feedback. The second most popular category are weekly project meetings, with 77%.
20. Reservations of meeting rooms returned to 70% of pre-pandemic levels.
According to meeting room statistics, the pandemic slowed down bookings. However, since 2021, the number has begun to grow again. In addition, many of these rooms have best-in-class ventilation and cleaning systems, which makes workers slowly regain confidence in the safety of in-person meetings.
21. The estimated value of the appointment scheduling software market is projected to reach $546.31 million in 2026.
In the first place, the use of appointment scheduling software in different industries and the rise of demand for these tools have pushed the market's growth. Hence, the expected growth will occur at a CAGR of 13.1%. North America will be the most dominant region if the current growth continues, while SaaS companies will have the largest share and will keep growing in this field, meeting statistics indicate.
22. 64% of managers have 1:1 with their employees once a week.
Although too many ineffective meetings can decrease productivity levels, managers need to keep employees updated. Most managers conduct one-on-one once a week. Some 21% call such meetings twice a week. Despite their importance, 15% don't have this type of meetings at all.
23. 64% of workers claim that one person dominating a meeting is what they hate most.
Inclusion in meetings is very important. The costs of bad meetings are multiple (lost time, profits, and lack of productivity). Moreover, meetings generally have a strong impact on morale and company culture. Hence, every participant should be able to share ideas and express their opinions.
Virtual Meeting Statistics
24. 76% of employees prefer face-to-face meetings.
There are different types of meetings in the workplace, but the pandemic has spurred the virtual kind. So today, we have both in-person meetings and virtual calls using different video conferencing tools. However, the majority of workers still prefer live meetings for many reasons. In fact, only 7% of working professionals prefer video conference calls.
25. 68% of frequent attendees prefer in-person meetings.
Too much time spent in meetings makes employees less likely to opt for in-person meetings. Naturally, their percentage is lower compared to 76% of sporadic goers that choose this format. Following them, 20% prefer audio conferences, while 12% prefer video conferences.
26. In every 30 minutes of meeting time, 22% of respondents sent approximately three emails.
In line with virtual meeting statistics, multitasking during meetings is quite standard. Namely, 74% of people say they multitask when muted during meetings. In addition, most employees work on other tasks or reply to emails.
27. 33% of virtual meeting participants respond to emails during online meetings.
Employees who have meetings all day are forced to multitask. So most of them during video calls remain muted for some time, answering emails. Also, 24% eat lunch, followed by 22% of those who check their mailbox. Around 17% visit the restroom, and 2% do other things, business meeting statistics confirm.
28. Since the pandemic, 50% of employees have spent between one to three hours per week on virtual meetings.
Remote work has sparked the growth of virtual conferences. Although employees have fewer online meetings on average compared to in-person ones, still they are accompanied by some problems. Most online meetings have some technical problems or start late, and people have to wait for their colleagues to join. Nearly 50% of all employees complained about these issues.
Learn more: Video Conferencing Statistics
29. The number of meetings increased by 12.9% in 2020.
According to meeting statistics and a study covering more than three million employees at over 21,000 companies globally, the number of meetings increased in 2020. Also, the number of attendees increased by 13.5%. The duration of meetings, on the other hand, dropped significantly. Yet, their frequency and check-ins took a toll on employees. This is especially true with the rise of virtual meetings.
30. The video conferencing market is set to reach $9.2 billion by 2026.
Today's workers attend more meetings than ever. At the same time, the pandemic has pushed virtual meetings to the forefront. As a result, the video conferencing market size is constantly growing. It’s estimated to reach a valuation of $9.2 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 11.45%, meeting statistics confirm. For reference, in 2019, it was $4.8 billion. The market owes this strong growth to the proliferation of innovative techs like face recognition, virtual reality, etc., etc.,
31. The biggest issue for virtual meeting productivity is inconsistent experience across different devices (49%).
There are a few important obstacles that affect virtual meetings' productivity. First, users have different experiences across mobile, desktop, or room systems. Next, different tools fail to deliver the same audio quality for all participants (45%). The last is the inability to quickly join a meeting from any device, with 42%. All these combined result in meetings that are a waste of time sometimes.
The Bottom Line
Despite these surprising facts about meetings and how often they are a waste of time, they will remain an integral part of organizations’ decision-making processes. So, for instance, the proliferation of remote work will further prolong the need for virtual meetings to foster collaboration between teams. However, the use of the right technological tools and the constant evaluation of the concept of meetings will lead to a solution that doesn’t affect employees’ productivity.
What percentage of meetings are unproductive?
Over 70% of meetings are a total waste of time. A recent survey among 182 senior managers has shown that 65% believe meetings kept them from doing the actual work. 71% said meetings are mostly unproductive, while 64% believe they come at the expense of deep thinking, meeting statistics show.
What percentage of time should be spent in meetings?
If we consider that most employees work eight hours a day, technically, they could fit in eight to 16 meetings per day (depending on their duration). Some analysts claim that a perfect schedule comprises no more than two or three meetings per day in the afternoon. This leaves the morning for productive work only, restricting the time spent in meetings, statistics show.
How long is the average business meeting?
On average, 41% of business meetings last between 30 minutes and an hour. Further, 39% of respondents had 16-to-30-minute meetings. At last, 13% had long meetings, lasting 61 to 90 minutes.
How many meetings are held each day?
In the US, employees participate on average in over 11 million meetings. This number comes to 55 million a week and 220 million a month. Also, this number translates into over a billion meetings annually in the US, which is a staggering figure.
Are too many meetings unproductive?
Based on statistics on ineffective meetings, too many Zoom calls affect employees negatively. They have problems focusing on their tasks and maintaining their work-life balance. In turn, this leads to an overall decrease in productivity. Generally, over 71% of meetings are unproductive.
Why too many meetings are a waste of time?
Too many meetings impact employees’ morale and reduce their motivation. Not only do they affect employees but CEOs and other executives too. On average, a CEO spends an equivalent of two workdays in meetings per week that could be spent on the company's strategic issues. The same applies to employees; they waste the time they could spend on their tasks, meeting statistics indicate.
What day of the week is best for team meetings?
The perfect day to organize a team meeting is sometime in the middle of the week and in the early afternoon. Typically, it’s when most teammates are free and can attend. Similarly, some experts suggest that the best time is sometime around 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday.
How long should the meeting last?
It depends on the subject. However, some optimal range is between 15 and 30 minutes or up to 60. For instance, information-sharing meetings could last between 15 and 60 minutes, depending on the volume. On the other hand, the optimal time for brainstorming sessions is 30 minutes of a 45-minute meeting, meeting statistics show.
Why do meetings fail?
Some of the common reasons meetings fail are:
- Lack of agenda;
- No interaction between participants;
- Conflict getting out of control;
- Not summarising action points.
(The Ridgeway Centre)
Are meetings better in the morning or afternoon?
According to meeting statistics, the best time for a meeting is in the afternoon, while Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days to schedule meetings. Recent findings show that Tuesday around 3 p.m. is the perfect meeting time.
How far in advance should you schedule a meeting?
The participants should always be given time to prepare. Hence, to make a meeting productive, allow other colleagues to come prepared. So the best time to book a meeting is two days in advance.
How to reduce meetings in the workplace?
According to meeting statistics, there are several means to prevent wasting time on unnecessary work gatherings. First, avoid status update meetings, which could be an email instead. Any recurring meetings tend to eat up your time too. Further, it’s allowed to decline meetings, especially if they are not on the top of your priority list. Finally, don’t feel bad about leaving a meeting in the middle of a discussion that isn’t relevant to you.