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Wasting Time in Meetings? (And What To Do About It)

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Gouldian Finch | July 28, 2018
Wasting Time in Meetings? (And What To Do About It)

Productive meetings are a great thing. Sadly, many things can derail meeting productivity. The result? We end up wasting time in meetings. There are many culprits: Lack of preparation. Poorly defined objectives. Latecomers and no-shows.

Video conferencing helps make meetings more productive. When we see ourselves on-screen, our behavior improves considerably. Being aware on one's demeanor translates into much more productive meetings. Less time is wasted when people are aware of any distractions they create.

Yet even with videoconferencing, meeting time is wasted due to AV setup. Connecting to a display. Launching a video call. Switching presenters. 

Time wasted in meetings accounts for 15% of an hour-long meeting*. That’s 9 minutes of precious time lost just setting up. The time-suck from tech issues makes a big impact. Time is wasted. Productivity is lost. 

Chart of Time a Business Wastes in a Meeting

How Big is The Problem of Wasted Time?

Lost meeting productivity is a big deal. Problems arise when situations conspire to sap meeting time and productivity. Because we spend so much time in meetings, even a relatively small percentage of wasted time quickly adds up. 

Problem of Wasted Meeting Time

A recent group of studies show there are between 36 and 56 million meetings per day. Ineffective meetings cost the US economy between $70 to $283 billion

Time is zero sum. Every minute spent in a meeting is time not getting something else done. That’s why wasting time in meetings is such a big deal. Focusing without distraction on a cognitively demanding task is referred to as deep work. It’s essential to creativity and efficiency. Wasting time in meetings hinders a person's abillity to concentrate on their own tasks.

Meeting Time Wasters

When people don't have time to focus on their work, productivity suffers greatly. When this happens too often, employees suffer from a loss of work-life balance and increased burnout. This results in less efficiency, less creativity and missed work days.

When employees consistently find themselves wasting time in meetings, job satisfaction drops. This holds true regardless of personality, pay and other key factors. Meetings with frequent time-wasting behaviors correlate with lower market share, less innovation and reduced employment stability

Meeting Time Wasters

Many factors contribute to time wasting, productivity sapping, sleep inducing meetings. One proven way to reduce time wasted in meetings is to use video conferencing. The business benefits of video conferencing include improved communication and less distractions. The most common meeting time wasters include:

Office Worker Wasting Time in a Meeting

  • Poor preparation by meeting host 
  • Inviting too many/wrong people
  • Latecomers and no-shows
  • Lack of clear, action-oriented agenda
  • Straying off topic/letting people talk too much
  • Not diverting longer discussion into follow up meetings

Wasting Time in Meetings What To Do

Tech Time Wasters

We like to think our tech isn’t a waste of time. Clearly, meeting room tech brings a host of benefits. Yet, content sharing technology quickly becomes a burden. Consider evidence from a recent study, which found that: 

  • Meeting room tech problems consumed 10% of IT managers’ time
  • IT managers address 447.2 meeting room tech incidents a year
  • On average, an incident eats up 23.1 minutes of an IT manager’s time
  • In a 12-month span, 69% of presentation teams were let down by meeting room tech
  • More than 1 in 5 extended meetings are due to meeting room equipment failure 

Frustration of Time Wasted in Meetings

Wasted time at the start of a meeting is particularly problematic. The time it takes to get a meeting up and running is among the most valuable few minutes in the room. Just like the common saying about breakfast, these minutes set the tone for the rest of the meeting.

Frustration of Time Wasted in Meetings

Imagine your team is doing all the right things to set the stage for running an effective meeting. Great prep. Action-oriented objectives. All the right people are in the room. Then, imagine the meeting host struggles to get the remote office connected. Or to display their presentation onscreen. Minutes tick by. Minds wander. Attention drifts. Previously focused energy dissipates as attendees shift off topic.

In another scenario, your video call connects with ease. But your in-room participants need to pass and connect a cable to take turns sharing content from their laptops. Or your wireless content sharing app isn’t working. Tick-Tock. You guessed it – more wasted minutes and wandering minds.

On average, 15% of a meeting is time wasted. Setting up for a video conference is a big contributor. Other frustrating, time-consuming tasks include:

  • Connecting the initial presenter’s laptop to the in-room display
  • Connecting subsequent presenter laptops to the display
  • Taking turns sharing content to the big screen
  • Updating presenter content then resending to participants
  • Slowdowns for participants to take photos of onscreen meeting notes

Cost of Time Wasted in Meetings

Let's take a look at how the cost of 15% of time wasted in meetings adds up. The average US salary level for a senior manager is $150,000. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume all meetings run for one hour, which costs $72.12. 

Applying the 15% stat from above, wasting time in meetings costs $10.82 for each meeting this manager attends. Let’s assume this exec is in a collaborative industry and attends the reported 17 meetings per week. That’s $183.94 down the drain due to lost meeting productivity, per week for this one person!

Monthly, we’re up to a $735.58 lost to unproductive meeting set up time – for this one senior manager. The annual loss (assuming 260 work days/year) is $9,562.50. Of course, it couldn’t be a meeting with just one exec. Using the same steps from above, we can calculate the cost of wasting time in meetings due to video conference setup and presenter connectivity for additional roles in the company: 

Cost of Time Wasted in Meetings

To complete the exercise, let’s find out how big the impact becomes when we look at the profile for an imaginary enterprise of 1,000 employees.

Cost of Time Wasted in Meetings for an Enterprise

Time wasted setting up for meetings has a cost. There are also less tangible, but impactful, consequences. The sunk cost of what these professionals could have been doing during wasted time. And the long-term blow to productivity from dissatisfaction with poorly run meetings.

Inefficiency Calculator

Use the inefficiency calculator to calculate how much money your company is losing due to wasted time in meetings**.

Boost Meeting Productivity With Content-Sharing Solutions

Boost meeting productivity with easy to use, enterprise meeting solutions. Having easy-to-connect content sharing technology is the key to reducing time wasted in meetings. ViewSonic® Interactive Flat Panel Displays are open platform allowing you to easily Connect, Collaborate, Cast.

Time Wasted Starting Meetings

  • No need to pick just one.
  • Use the features from each that best meet your company’s needs.
  • Quick meeting starts matter. Lost time adds up in more ways than one. 

Getting going quickly boosts meeting productivity. The best meeting room solutions increase start-up efficiency by reducing time wasted connecting video calls and displaying content.

 ViewSonic® ViewBoard® Interactive Flat Panel displays simplify the process of hosting, joining and participating in video meetings. They come preloaded with ViewBoard Cast, QuickLaunch and myViewBoard software.

Delivering out-of-the-box ease, ViewSonic enterprise-grade meeting solutions are efficient, secure and easy-to-use. Along with reducing meeting start time, reliable ViewBoard solutions can notably reduce the need for IT staff intervention. 

ViewBoard Cast

Integrated into every IFP, ViewBoard Cast delivers virtually instantaneous collaboration. After a one-time app download (vCastSender), users walk into any room and easily share content from any Windows, Mac, Android or Chrome device. PIN codes allows presenters to authorize sharing and restrict casting to those with the PIN. 

  • Meeting Productivity Rating: Very Good

Simple, easy-to-use, time-saving solution for out-of-the-box collaboration and cross-platform sharing. Reduces cost burden, with no subscription fee and virtually no need for IT involvement or training. Ideal for in-office sharing in conference rooms, huddle spaces, boardrooms and ad hoc meeting spaces equipped with a ViewSonic display. 

  • One-click sharing of virtually any content: multimedia, documents, cloud files
  • Share from any Windows, Mac, Android or Chrome device
  • Participants with Android and iOS devices can receive mirrored content from ViewBoard
  • Android & iOS device users can annotate real-time on their devices and broadcast onto the screen

QuickLaunch

Another preloaded app for meeting convenience, Quicklaunch is a simple, secure meeting room interface that delivers one-touch ease from any ViewBoard display. QuickLaunch provides a consistent, uber-easy interface that lets users join meetings, start applications, launch websites, access content and share device screens – each with just one click. Built with security in mind, QuickLaunch keeps confidential data secure with a Room Reset feature and the option to lock down and restrict usage. 

  • Meeting Productivity Rating: Even Better

Advanced security features, compatibility with any PC hardware and the ability to use any PC application make QuickLaunch an outstanding enterprise-class solution for boosting meeting efficiency. Launches any video con app with one touch. The consistent interface and one-touch deployment of numerous functions save considerable time and keep focus on the topic at hand. 

  • One-touch video/web calls with support for over 30 conferencing providers 
  • Collaborate, share devices, access content and more – all with just one click
  • Room Reset clears temporary files, cache and more between meetings
  • Lock Down mode restricts usage of the meeting room PC 

MyViewBoard

Designed for the demands of leading enterprises, myViewBoard digital whiteboarding software boosts meeting productivity with a range of critical collaboration features. Enterprise-level security, annotation tools and one-touch call with integrated Zoom VC software combine to power effective, quick-start connectivity and collaboration. MyViewBoard.com adds secure, cloud-based portability. 

  • Meeting Productivity Rating: Best

All-around enterprise-grade features boost meeting productivity and let you maximize the benefits of your ViewBoard display. Quick-start Zoom video/web calls keep the focus on your meeting objectives. Cloud storage delivers portable convenience and ease. Enterprise-grade security prevents data theft. 

  • One-touch video/web call startups with built-in Zoom Video Conferencing software
  • Cloud-based portability let users quickly store, retrieve and use docs and images from anywhere
  • Built-in casting feature allows remote users to share screens and engage in real time
  • User-friendly handwriting recognition transforms handwritten words into typed text
  • Full-featured canvas includes numerous annotation tools to boost teamwork and collaboration
  • Protected by AES-256 encryption for locked-down, enterprise-level security 

Mix & Match for Added Meeting Productivity 

One of the best features of ViewSonic’s meeting room solutions is that you don’t need to pick just one. All three come preloaded and ready to go with every ViewSonic ViewBoard Interactive Display. And all offer intuitive ease so users can take them for a spin and choose the features that work best for their needs.

*ViewSonic estimates based on industry data and customer feedback 

**The calculator provided herein is for information purposes only and the accuracy is not guaranteed. Any default figures shown are hypothetical and for ease of reference. Please consult a professional before relying on any results. ViewSonic and its affiliates are not responsible for any decisions or actions taken in reliance upon or as a result of the data provided by the tool and the usage thereof. ViewSonic disclaims any and all liability as a result of any human or mechanical errors/omissions.

References:

Keith, Elise. 12.4.15. 55 Million: A Fresh Look at the Number, Effectiveness, and Cost of Meetings in the U.S. Lucid Meetings Blog. Accessed 7.11.18 at: https://blog.lucidmeetings.com/blog/fresh-look-number-effectiveness-cost-meetings-in-us

Perlow, Leslie, et.al. July-Aug 2017. Stop the Meeting Madness. Harvard Business Review. Accessed 7.11.18 at: https://hbr.org/2017/07/stop-the-meeting-madness

Rogelberg, Steven, et al. 3.26.10. Employee satisfaction with meetings: A contemporary facet of job satisfaction. Accessed 7.11.18 at:  https. //onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hrm.20339

Kauffeld, Simone and Lehmann-Willenbrock, Nale. April 2012. Meetings Matter: Effects of Team Meetings on Team and Organizational Success. Accessed 7.11.18 at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258187597_Meetings_Matter_Effects_of_Team_Meetings_on_Team_and_Organizational_Success

The Meeting Room Marathon – A Waste of Corporate Time. July 2010. Accessed 7.11.18 at: http://docs.media.bitpipe.com/io_10x/io_102267/item_465972/whitepaper_66611393663.pdf