The Impact of Unproductive Business Meetings [And Why It Matters]

When businesses are faced with a challenge, need to give updates or when an organization wants to improve on something, they conduct business meetings. Business meetings exist to keep companies afloat and even propel them forward to greater success.

There are different kinds of business meetings and each serves a specific purpose. While all of this is good and well, business meetings can have a negative impact when it’s effect is the opposite of improvement.

The impact of unproductive business meetings have been studied and we’ve done the research for you to to share with you everything you need to know about the subject. With this knowledge, you can have a better understanding on how not to conduct business meetings.

Decreased Productivity

Since business meetings require people to attend, this takes away some of their time from working. Moreover, even before getting into the meeting, their preparation for the meeting takes even more of their time from work.

Because both leaders and employees have work, preparation for the meeting can take a hit and as a result, business meetings can lack structure and exceed the time allotted for it. Yet, even with extended meeting time, the aftermath can still end up with poor results. 

Here are results from a survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review consisting of 182 senior managers from different industries:

  • 65% said meetings get in the way from completing their work.
  • 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient.
  • 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking.
  • 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the group closer together.

Meetings become unproductive for a couple of reasons. Besides lack of preparation, here are more other reasons why meetings become unproductive according to Lifehack:

  1. Multitasking
  2. Remote participants aren’t engaged

Most attendees of meetings are distracted because of either having other urgent things to accomplish or because of a lack of interest. Here are statistics regarding multitasking in a meeting:

  • 92% of participants confessed that they multitask during meetings.
  • 69% mentioned that they check their email.
  • 41% admitted to multitasking “often” or “all the time”. 
  • 49% admitted to doing other things unrelated to work. 

Remote participants can find it hard to stay engaged and this can make them feel like they can’t contribute. This is because the experience of remote participants can be more challenging as 80% of messages that we receive come from body language. 

All of these leads to decreased productivity. Conducting effective business meetings might sound simple and it can be if you know the best ways to conduct business meetings

Unproductive Meetings Are Costing Businesses a Lot of Money

Meetings are costing organizations a lot of money each year. This shouldn’t be a problem if the meetings produce positive outcomes. However, according to The Muse, unproductive business meetings are costing companies over $37 billion each year.

Here are more results from the survey conducted by The Muse:

  • The collective amount of time used by organizations for meetings is 15%. 
  • Workers can spend up to 4hrs in a week just to prepare for a simple status update meeting.

The excessive amount of time wasted for a meeting could have been better used for actual productivity. While business meetings are a form of planning, excessive amounts can do more harm than help. 

It is important to just have meetings when it’s needed and it’s also ideal to announce updates through other means such as email to avoid wasting too much time on unproductive meetings. 

Decreased Employee Happiness

Unproductive business meetings can affect employee happiness. This is according to a study conducted by Steven Rogelberg from the University of North Carolina and his colleagues.

An article from the Harvard Business Review mentioned that their study showed, 

“how workers feel about the effectiveness of meetings correlates with their general satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their jobs, even after controlling for personality traits and environmental factors such as work design, supervision, and pay. Instead of improving communication and collaboration, as intended, bad meetings undermine those things.”

If happiness, satisfaction and engagement of employees are low, the overall performance of the company can be low as well. After all, the productivity of the employees impact the growth of a company.

You can avoid this by knowing how to conduct a productive business meeting. Regardless if it’s about innovating business operations and choosing the ideal payroll automating software from the 6 best payroll software solutions in 2020 or coming up with excellent ways to promote work-life balance, always know how you can avoid conducting unproductive business meetings.

Now that you know the impact of unproductive business meetings, strive to conduct less but more effective meetings in the future. This will not just help you cut out costs but it will also help you with maintaining a workforce with high morale. 

Will you still be conducting business meetings the same way you always have been? Apply what you learned in this article to create a transformative change in your organization.