Most of us think we're wasting time on 'pointless' office meetings

angry woman on video conferencing call
(Image credit: / Antonio Guillem)

Many workers believe their productivity is being hampered by team meetings that they deem 'pointless', new research has said.

Project management platform Asana has published its fourth annual Anatomy of Work Index, surveying nearly 10,000 knowledge workers from around the world.

It found that 58% of a worker's day was spent in unnecessary meetings, rather than on the actual work they were hired to do. Although this figure is down on 2021, it has increased slightly since 2022, meaning this could spell a worrying new trend for businesses, if employees' characterization of these meetings is right.

Importance of collaboration

The report, the research for which began in November 2022, found that 2.8 hours per week of a worker's shift was spent in 'pointless' meetings, up from 2.7 hours last year. For those in senior leadership, things are worse, as they spend 3.6 hours per week in such meetings.

More worrying still, Executives were 30% more likely to miss deadlines than other workers due to the excessive amount of meetings they had to attend. 

32% of workers say video calls are consuming more of their time than last year, and 22% said the same for audio calls. Accompanying this fact are the number of video conferencing and other apps that are being used to conduct these meetings. 

On average, nearly 9 separate apps are used by knowledge workers to communicate in various ways with colleagues, rising to 10 for those in director roles or higher. This again had a negative impact on productivity - 15% of knowledge workers who use between 6-15 of these apps overlook messages and notices requiring action, and those who use 16 or more miss 25%. 

Workers also estimated that improved processes to their workflow could net them an extra 4.2 hours a week to dedicate to more important work, equating to more than six working weeks over a whole year.

On the topic of online collaboration, just over half of the workers at collaborative firms reported revenue growth over the past three years. Only 28% reported such growth at firms where collaboration was weak.

What's more, at collaborative firms, 79% felt prepared to respond to new challenges, and 92% felt their work had real value. In contrast, at firms with a weak collaborative culture, workers were four times less prepared for challenges and only 50% found value in their job.

“Current economic uncertainty requires enterprises to re-imagine how teams collaborate to drive greater efficiency and growth,” says Asana COO Anne Raimondi. 

They also emphasized the importance of business leaders in pathing the way for better collaborative practices:

"Instead of adding meetings and apps to already overloaded employees, they can chose 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.”

Lewis Maddison
Staff Writer

Lewis Maddison is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro. His area of expertise is online security and protection, which includes tools and software such as password managers. 

His coverage also focuses on the usage habits of technology in both personal and professional settings - particularly its relation to social and cultural issues - and revels in uncovering stories that might not otherwise see the light of day.

He has a BA in Philosophy from the University of London, with a year spent studying abroad in the sunny climes of Malta.