Interesting stats about too many virtual meetings

Remote working has provided employees with many benefits to their work-life balance, but there are some drawbacks to working from home.

New research published by RedRex – an innovative group of web developers – has revealed that virtual meetings are a thorn in the side of remote working. While many virtual meetings are necessary for communication, the survey found that a significant number of employees find that meeting frequency wastes time, causes stress and digital fatigue, while reducing productivity.

The rise of video conferencing software

The pandemic has clearly fueled a major increase in remote working and thus the apparent need for more virtual meetings, although video conferencing has increased year on year since 2000. In fact, RedRex found that time spent on video conferencing has increased by 8-10% per year since the turn of the millennium. By 2020, the percentage of telecommuters using video conferencing technology had reached 48%, and that number rose dramatically to 77% by 2022.

Now 83% of employees spend up to a third of their work week on video conferencing. Interestingly, 55% say they have more meetings now than when they were working entirely in the office.

It is also not about one-off meetings, but about several meetings during a week and even during one day. Up to 35% of remote workers say they have multiple virtual meetings per week, and 17% say they have multiple virtual meetings per day.

How virtual meetings waste time

Productive meetings aren’t the problem, of course, but unfortunately few meetings seem to be described that way by telecommuters. The RedRex survey found that 71% of employees believed their work time was often wasted due to unnecessary or canceled meetings.

Diving deeper into the research makes it easier to see exactly why so many remote workers feel that virtual meetings are a waste of their time. The simple act of waiting for meetings to start takes regular employees about 11 minutes per meeting, which equates to three days a year. The waste of time is even worse for senior executives who lose about 16 minutes per meeting, which equates to nearly six days a year.

Add to that the 30 minutes that 40% of employees spend looking for the right link to join a meeting. Also consider that 42% of homeworkers contribute nothing to every meeting.

On average, 31 hours per month are spent on unproductive meetings, with 56% of remote workers actively seeking to reduce the time they spend on virtual meetings.

However, wasted or unproductive time is not the only problem.

Increased stress and digital fatigue

The constant virtual meetings of teleworkers have significantly increased the stress and presented us with a new problem in the form of digital fatigue.

Workers from home cite the top causes of digital fatigue as meetings that last too long (56%), staring at screens for a long time (52%), meetings without a purpose (49%) and constant eye contact (35%).

RedRox found that the reasons for increased stress levels were due to the larger faces on the screen that minimized the sense of personal space, while our own faces on the screen also increased self-awareness and anxiety. The lack of mobility during a virtual meeting was also an important factor.

The future of work and events by RedRex

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Image: redrex

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