Thursday, May 7, 2009

Meeting Preparation Eats 5 Hours Of Typical Workweek

Business professionals in Europe and the US waste about five hours each week arranging and re-arranging meetings and conference calls.

What's more, they pass countless more hours at meetings that are an average of 2.75 hours long,according to a meeting-planning study from Doodle (via MarketingCharts).

The study, undertaken in Europe and the US to determine how managers and administrative professionals plan meetings and how much time they spend doing it, found that at least an eighth of an average working week is spent arranging meetings and conference calls. Currently, the most common ways professionals arrange meetings:

doodle-meeting-time-arranging-hours-week-2009.jpg

  • Classic calendar systems (32%)
  • Email (31%)
  • By phone (22%)

Meeting Statistics

On average, professionals spend five hours arranging times to hold seven meetings per week, and - even after these meetings are arranged - one in every six meetings is rearranged, the study found. With each meeting having four to five participants, this explains why three-fourths of all professionals spend almost five hours each week - more than half of one working day - just arranging them.

Doodle estimates that this time each year equates to thousands of Euros and dollars of salaries.

"We could take a half day off every Friday with the time saved on meeting arrangement by using simple online tools that do it much quicker and more reliable," said Doodle's CEO Michael Näf. "The study suggests that while the ways of doing business have evolved, professionals tend to revert to email for everything - even for things that can be done more simply online.

Additional survey findings:

  • Business professionals organize seven meetings a week on average, with the mean length of each being two hours 45 minutes.
  • Most meetings have at least four or five participants.
  • Across Europe and the US, administrative staff use calendar systems (34%) more than managers (27%). On the other hand, managers prefer email (34%) to arrange meetings more than administrative staff (30%).
  • Managers typically need to rearrange more meetings than their assistants, with 69% of managers needing to reschedule get-together's compared with less than half (46%) of admin pros.

With some million managers and admin pros in national economies of Europe or the US this equates to a total annual economic cost of several billion Euro per year in spent wages, Doodle said.

Doodle, which offers an online scheduling tool, said this research strongly suggests that by working smarter, workers can "reclaim Friday afternoon" while companies save costs.

About the survey: The research was conducted among 2,500 administrative and management staff from UK, US, France, Germany and the Nordic region (500 from each. The survey was administered by email and online links in March 2009 by UK-based research company LMRMC.

Source: MarketingVox.