Meetings have been a part of human work since we were hunter-gatherers. However, the amount of time spent on workplace meetings has grown exponentially in the last half of the 20th century and increased even further in contemporary business.
Software firm Lucid Meetings there are about 55 million workplace meetings everyday in the United States. Anthony Jay, writing for the Harvard Business Review in 1976, estimated there were about 11 million such meetings a day. That is about 500% growth in workplace meetings in just 40 years.
The Microsoft Work Trend Index recently claimed that meeting time has more than doubled since the pandemic first hit.
Memes and jokes about useless meetings abound in pop culture and social media. Multi surveys confirm that many respondents find meetings non-productive or a waste of time; however, when asked to describe their ideal workday most respondents include meetings in the mix. Do people just enjoy the break? If meetings are useless, do they like them as break from their regular work or do people actually find them flawed but productive?
The answer is not to eliminate meetings entirely as obviously serve purposes like team building, getting group work done, brainstorming, coming to a consensus and are still a good way to communicate important information. But there are tons of ways we can improve how effective they are and people’s attitudes toward them.