New research reveals office workers are spending more than 10 hours each week on meetings, with almost an entire working day spent on unnecessary meetings, according to new research from meeting governance technology firm eShare carried out in the UK.

The average office worker spends 10 hours 42 minutes every week, preparing for and attending 4.4 meetings, with 2.6 of those deemed unnecessary. With the average meeting revealed to have 6.8 attendees, this equates to annual staff costs for unnecessary meetings per business of £35,395.36, based on ONS average earnings data. With 5.4 million businesses in the UK, this means the total staff cost per year of unnecessary meetings is more than £191 billion.

The total staff cost per year of unnecessary meetings is more than £191 billion

"Even as an approximate figure, £191 billion is an astonishing amount to be wasted in staff costs, time and resource that could clearly be much better spent elsewhere," said Alister Esam, CEO, eShare.

"The template for smarter meetings must start at the top board level meetings must be efficient, essential and better managed, so that meetings elsewhere can follow that lead."

The research also revealed that:

• 70% of office workers believe there are too many meetings in a working week,

• 24% say often the same results could be achieved with a few quick e-mails

• 81% say meetings need a 21st century makeover

• 83% saying the meeting process has not changed since they first entered the workplace

• 79% of respondents say they could get much more work done with fewer inefficient meetings

• 45% believe that meetings prevent them from actually getting on with their job

• 52% saying they still receive a printed agenda and materials for most meetings, despite the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets

• 59% say that after most meetings they just throw away the agenda and printed materials.

"We've all been in meetings that took scores of e-mails to confirm, that have a paper agenda, where people can't recall exactly what the previous actions were and with meeting materials that have been amended at the last minute these problems could all be addressed by a more digital approach. It's a waste of money and resource and is hugely frustrating for all concerned. Addressing such inefficiencies could be the biggest single boost to productivity in UK business, whilst also improving areas such as governance and transparency, especially at board level," Mr Esam said.

"Whether it's board meetings in a major corporation, SME all-company meetings or departmental catch-ups, meetings are an essential element of business. Yet most of us would agree that many meetings are inefficient and ineffective, and can be managed far better than they are currently."

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