What wastes the most time in business meetings?

Jul 27th '19

A new survey has fascinating insights into the ways British employees’ time is wasted in meetings.


HR Grapevine reports that over half (55%) of British employees waste time waiting for other attendees to join meetings.


49% spend ten minutes trying to find the meeting room (presumably, some of these are the people being waited for by the 55%!)


The research, carried out by digital print and design company MOO, found that the top five reasons for time-wasting during a meeting include:


  • Waiting for people to arrive
  • Small talk
  • Setting up technology
  • Locating the meeting room
  • Introductions


38% of those surveyed claim to spend at least five minutes of their one-hour meeting considering the best place to sit. A third (34%) can spend up to ten minutes ensuring the meeting room’s temperature is right.


How much time is spent in meetings?

The findings are rather worrying. Especially when considered alongside the fact that 63% of British workers attend at least one meeting per day, with a third (36%) attending between two and four.


The impact of time-wasting is exacerbated – in terms of cost to the business, at least – when we are talking abut board meetings.


The people involved in your board meetings are likely to be among the most highly-paid within your organisation. Wasting their time is therefore a poor use of your firm’s money. Our tips on how CEOs can best manage their time have more advice on senior management prioritisation.


Improving the efficiency of your meetings

These series of recent blogs has focused on meeting efficiency, looking at:



Making the best use of your board’s time is vital. They make the strategic choices needed to drive your business forward. It’s essential to give them the time – and the information – they need to ensure they can make informed, considered decisions.


Make the best use of your board’s time

So, what steps can you take to improve the way your meetings run?


  • Emulate best practice from research into the most effective boards.
  • Use tips and tricks from behavioural science to sharpen decision-making skills.
  • Make sure your directors get the information they need to prepare for meetings. This means finding out how they prefer to receive information and ensuring you can deliver what they want.
  • It means producing user-friendly, comprehensive board papers – if this is something you could improve on.
  • Explore whether a board portal could help make your board meetings – and preparing for them – more efficient. Using an online approach to board information can have a dramatic impact on efficiency, as well as improving security and governance.


More productive meetings = increased efficiency and better decisions

Making the best use of people’s time in meetings is an important step in improving efficiency. This is never more true than when the people in question are your most senior executives. The good news is that by taking some of the simple steps we’ve outlined, you can easily improve your meetings’ productivity.


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