5 Ways Meetings Inhibit Productivity

In many offices, meetings are ubiquitous and inescapable, and employee productivity is suffering as a result. Ineffective and unnecessary meetings waste precious time, and the nonstop decision-making that often happens in project meetings can hamper workers' cognitive reasoning for the rest of the day. Read on for five ways meetings inhibit rather than catalyze productivity, courtesy of Psychology Today.

  • They waste time. A survey of executives by 3M Meeting Network found that 25 percent to 50 percent of time spent in meetings is wasted. Another survey reported by Industry Week revealed that 30 percent of meeting time is wasted.
  • Many are unnecessary. For example, status update meetings are largely useless when it comes to catalyzing productivity. Seventy percent of employees feel that status update meetings don't help them get work done, according to a Clarizen/Harris survey, while 67 percent spend up to four hours a week to prepare for such meetings.
  • They cause decision fatigue. We have finite cognitive resources; following lengthy meetings where participants make many decisions, their focus and decision-making abilities are compromised. This could hamper employee productivity for the rest of the day.
  • They dull a sense of urgency. Al Pittampalli, an author and former Ernst & Young executive, says that we've grown "addicted" to meetings, and that most are mediocre, "not about coordination but about a bureaucratic excuse-making and the kabuki dance of company politics." Due to their scheduling and lackluster implementation, meetings inhibit our natural sense of urgency and impede business progress.
  • They lengthen the workday. Because employees can't get work done due to meetings, they must stay longer or come into the office on the weekend. This cuts out downtime, which is vital for stress management and long-term productivity.

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