Britons waste £17m a year on unnecessary meetings

Mar 13 2007 by Nic Paton Print This Article

British managers waste £17 billion a year on unnecessary face-to-face meetings and lose the equivalent of 23 working days a year travelling to and from business appointments.

The study of 1,200 workers by videoconferencing company Polycom found two-thirds of office professionals across Britain travelled at least once a week for work-related meetings.

But an overwhelming majority (82 per cent) who had travelled to meetings in the past year believed many of these meetings were unnecessary and could have been (perhaps unsurprisingly in light of who was carrying out the poll) accomplished over the phone.

Nearly a quarter of those surveyed believed one to two hours of their time could be saved each week by not attending off-site meetings, with one in five saying three to four hours and one in ten believing as much as five to six hours, nearly a whole working day, could be saved.

More than half of those who travelled for business said they were less productive in their job as a result, it added.

The vast majority of those leaving the office for meetings weekly were board-level executives, followed closely by senior managers or directors.

Half of professionals planned their work schedule around external meetings and believed meetings impacted on the speed at which their company could make business decisions.

Nearly half felt they travelled more on business than they did five years ago, it added.

"The impact of all of these out of office meetings isn't just influencing productivity, job satisfaction and personal stress, but is also contributing significantly to the UK's carbon emissions," said Steve Leyland, EMEA managing director for Polycom.