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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : June 23, 2016

Marketing departments found to be worst for long, unproductive meetings

Meetings in the workplace could be costing your business valuable time and money, according to new research from collaborative platform Wisembly.

by Helen Leggatt

According to Wisembly's study, more than a third (36%) of meetings in the workplace are considered unproductive, with the marketing department the worst culprit. The study of 500 professionals found that marketing department personnel spend over 13 hours a week in meetings, with each meeting lasting an average of 1 hour, 42 minutes - 35 minutes longer than the average across all departments (1 hour, 7 minutes).

Based on an average UK salary of £26,500 that 36% of meeting time deemed unproductive is costing businesses £1,400 a year per employee around the table.

Worse still, the research reveals that, more often than not, meetings did not meet their objectives with 50% of meetings being used to decide that another meeting should be scheduled.

"The UK is suffering a productivity problem and we may have found a culprit," says Andrei Vestemeanu, CEO of Wisembly. "Meetings do matter but when they're unproductive, it can mean a business haemorrhages resources, staff and, ultimately, profits."

So, what is the cause of such unproductive meetings among marketing departments? Wisembly identified two problems primarily connected to leadership namely that 20% of marketers feel intimidated during meetings (that's more than in any other department) and one in five (22%) believe they do not get the opportunity to voice their opinions - again, this is more than in any other department.

Across all departments, 41% said meetings were often dominated by just one or two people, and one in five (20%) said they had experienced meetings that had involved full scale arguments.

A lack of productivity in marketing department meetings is also caused by a lack of focus with all marketers surveyed admitting to multi-tasking during meetings on unrelated tasks. In fact, many of those tasks being conducted by meeting attendees are not related to the business in any form such as online shopping (50%), searching for a new job or preparing for an upcoming interview (17%), falling asleep (11%) or even online dating (6%).

Of course, the findings of Wisembly's research play nicely into their hands seeing as they are a collaborative software firm specializing in tracking and streamlining meetings. However, the findings are interesting and certainly sound familiar to this marketer. If you also feel like your workplace meetings could do with a shake up, check out Wisembly's meetings cost calculator and perhaps surprise yourself with how much you could save in both time, and money, by making meetings more productive.

In terms of making meetings more productive, there are various steps that can be taken. In the first instance, better preparation is key as is a realistic agenda and sharing relevant documentation in advance. During a meeting, engaging participants will improve discussion and keep attendees focused, while post-meeting housekeeping is vital such as sharing the minutes, outlining any actions to be taken as a result of the meeting and following up on decisions made.

Tags: business tips, collaborative software, meetings, research

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