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‘Dating culture’ is costing businesses $101 million a year

If you feel like you spend most of your waking life trapped in business meetings, you might be right.

The average employee travels to 17.7 meetings a week, spending a third of their working hours sitting on a Zoom call or around a conference room table.

It’s not just excessive, it’s expensive, according to a new study by a transcription company Otter.ai in partnership with the University of North Carolina Chancellor’s Professor Dr Steven Rogelberg.

The report surveyed 632 employees in more than 20 different industries and found that companies pay an average of $80,000 per professional employee to attend meetings each year. That’s $2.5 million a year for businesses with 100 people. In companies with more than 5,000 employees, that number jumps to over $100 million.

The report also found that the higher the employee’s salary, the more time they spent in meetings, which cost their company money. For example, a manager earning $160,000 a year wastes $12,800 of the company’s investment.

Dr. Rogelberg says the norms surrounding what he calls “dating culture” are broken and need to be re-examined.

“When employees are in meetings they don’t need to be in, they’re often sitting there disengaged or multitasking, which distracts others and can derail the meeting,” said Dr Robelberg, who has researched meetings with companies such as Google, Facebook and the United Nations. “Not only does this impact the quality of the meeting, it takes up essential productivity and time on employees.”

Related: How to Tame Meeting Overload

Fewer meetings mean happier employees

While 83% of respondents say they accept meeting invitations, 31% secretly wish to decline, even though most do not. As a result, many of those interviewed reported feeling “frustrated” and “bored” at meetings. Maybe act, seventy percent said they multi-task, while 45% turned off video or audio.

Most employees (86%) said they get more done when they have long stretches of uninterrupted time and that fewer meetings would mean more job satisfaction.

When asked how companies can reduce the number of unnecessary meetings, employees offered solutions including:

  • Changing corporate culture to make meetings in decline less taboo.
  • Distribute high-quality meeting notes, including a summary of action points.
  • Invite employees to meetings that only concern them.