The way we conduct meetings has evolved significantly in recent years due to the pandemic, advancements in technology, and the changing work culture. This evolution has been somewhat complicated and confounding to business experts.
For example, when the pandemic hit, the adoption of remote work made virtual meetings the norm in many organizations, and video conferencing tools became more popular. But when we thought that in-person meetings have finally been laid to rest, the world opened up and physical meetings are making a comeback.
As a professional, it is important to keep up with the latest meeting statistics in the workplace to understand how meetings are evolving and how to optimize them for better outcomes.
In this article, we will explore the latest meeting statistics of 2023, highlighting the key trends and changes that are shaping the industry.
Here are some key meeting statistics you should know in 2023:
11 million meetings are held every day in the United States. This translates to 55 million meetings every week and over 1 billion per year.
The majority (83.13%) of employees spend up to one-third of their workweek in meetings.
Around 53% of workers report they spend over 4 hours per week in meetings.
On average, organizations spend roughly 15% of their time in meetings.
Only 30% of meetings are productive and 37% of workplace meetings actively use an agenda.
An estimated $37 billion is lost due to unproductive meetings per year.
54% of professionals believe they attend more meetings than they did before the pandemic.
55% of remote workers think that a majority of meetings “could have been an email.”
82.9% of professionals believe that not all video meetings require video.
58% of introverts experience Zoom fatigue compared to 40% of extroverts.
Do you feel that you have attended more meetings while working from home, well, you feel it right.
1. Remote work has led to a huge increase in meetings
A survey by Harvard Business Review revealed that the number of meetings attended by a worker on average rose by 13.5% during the pandemic when remote work was at its peak.
This is corroborated by the Buffer State of Remote Work Report, which gathered data from over 2,000 remote workers worldwide to observe the shifts and evolution in remote work, 61% of workers said that they are in more meetings as a result of COVID-forced remote work.
2. Around 83% of employees spend up to 1/3 of their workweek in meetings
More specifically, the following are the results from the survey:
Less than 4 hours - 46.15%
4-12 hours - 36.98%
12-20 hours - 12.14%
20 hours or more - 4.73% (that means they spend 50% or more of work hours in meetings)
Guess which industry holds the most meetings? The marketing and advertising industry!
3. The average number of meetings attended varies by job title
There is a stark difference between the number of meetings attended on average, even in the same organization, depending on their roles - CEOs and top-level executives have more meetings that the average employee:
CEO - At least 37 meetings per week.
VPs and top-level executives - between 12 and 17 meetings every week
Junior level employees - 10 meetings
And when we count specific meeting time, CEOs spend 72% of work time in meetings, upper management spends 50%, middle management, and employees spend roughly 35% of their time in meetings.
As expected, 45% of employees admitted to feeling overwhelmed by attending too many meetings.
Meetings are fast becoming timesinks with organizations spending roughly 15% of their time in meetings. The problem with this figure becomes apparent when you consider that 70% of all meetings are a waste of time.
1. The majority (74.5%) of meetings last within 60 minutes
Deputy surveyed 3,280 workers in the US across different states and industries. When asked how much time they spend in meetings:
13.5% said that their average meeting ended in less than 15 minutes
19.2% spend between 15 and 30 minutes
41.8% spend between 30 minutes and an hour on average in meetings
22.5% said that meetings last up to two hours
2.9% stated that their meetings exceed the two-hour mark on average
2. The average meeting length increased by 8% - 10% every year between 2000 - 2020.
3. Meeting length fluctuates from 2019-2021
A study by Dialpad, which surveyed 2821 US-based employees across various industries and 400,000 meetings, revealed surprising trends in meeting lengths between 2019 and 2021.
Meetings lasted between 31 and 60 minutes before the pandemic. A survey by Barco had a similar report showing that the average meeting lasted 48 minutes.
During the pandemic (2020) , the meetings were on average shorter than most meetings in the previous year. This is corroborated by Microsoft’s report which stated that short meetings lasting between 30 minutes and less went up by 22% in 2020. A report by Doodle revealed that the number of 15-minute meetings increased by 10.8% during the period.
The duration of meetings started to rise again and lasts between 30-60 minutes, which is more consistent with pre-pandemic rates. This is understandable as organizations began to fully embrace remote work, and the lockdown was lifted.
4. Meeting length differs across industries
There are also differences in how much time employees spend on average across different industries.
Legal services - Between 1 and 2 hours
Law enforcement - 30 minutes to two hours
Media and broadcasting - 30 minutes to an hour
Food service industry - Typically less than 30 minutes
Military industry - Less than 15 minutes
U.S. professionals waste 8% of their work week on unproductive meetings and 71% of employees say that their meetings are unproductive and inefficient.
However, the fact that meetings get a lot of bad PR and most meetings are badly executed does not mean that they are inherently bad. 61% of professionals believe that meetings benefit employees. And as we will see from the studies cited below, meetings can transform employee productivity and the overall quality of an organization's output.
1. In the United States, $37 billion is lost to unproductive meetings annually
Alone, one big business can lose up to $300 million each year.
Organizations also lose 24 billion hours to inefficient meetings.
2. 71% of managers and employees consider meetings a waste of time
A study by the Harvard Business Review which surveyed 182 senior managers in different industries found that:
65% believe that meetings keep them from completing their own work
71% consider meetings to be unproductive and inefficient
64% believe that meetings come at the expense of deep thinking
62% think that meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together
Only 17% of senior managers reported that their meetings are productive uses of group and individual time.
3. Factors that make meetings productive
According to respondents in a Doodle survey, the following are what makes a good meeting:
Setting clear meeting objectives – 72%
Having a clear agenda – 67%
Not having too many people in the room – 35%
Having a visual stimulus - 27%
4. Causes of unproductive meetings
With the fact that 70% of meetings are considered unproductive, it’s essential to know the reasons behind them.
Lack of clear objectives
61% of C-suite executives believe that the lack of clear objectives is responsible for unproductive meetings.
51% of professionals attribute meeting unproductivity to irrelevant meetings.
78% of professionals identified scheduling overload as another factor contributing to unproductive meetings and early career professionals are the most affected by this problem. 38% of professionals blame upper management for this problem while 16% blame their direct manager.
Lack of meeting feedback
According to a report by Fellow, the lack of meeting feedback may contribute to hindering meeting productivity. Only 3.7% of respondents said that their company always collects meeting feedback.
Other factors responsible for unproductive meetings according to workers include:
Taking phone calls or texting during meetings - 55%
Participants interrupting one another - 50%
Not listening to the contributions of others - 49%
Arriving late or leaving early - 49%
Talking about nothing for long periods of time - 46%
Many organizations turned to remote work and virtual meetings as a way to continue operations during the lockdown and continued to work the same way ever since.
Virtual one-on-one meetings increased by a staggering 1,230% from January to December 2020, while virtual group meetings rose by over 613%.
1. Virtual meetings grew from 48% to 77% between 2020 and 2022
This is evidence that virtual meetings have come to stay. The global video conferencing market also grew from $6.62 billion in 2022 to $7.26 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of 9.7%.
Zoom has been one of the fastest-growing apps during the pandemic, seeing its number of daily meeting participants increase by 2900% within months of the outbreak of COVID-19.
2. Do employees prefer virtual meetings?
A report by Owl Labs revealed that:
70% of workers find virtual meetings less stressful (It is important to note that a recent study by Livecareer contradicts this. According to the study, 31% of respondents find online meetings more stressful.)
71% find it easier to present to a group in virtual meetings
67% consider virtual meetings as productive as physical meetings
66% are more comfortable with contributing during virtual meetings
3. 43% of professionals consider on-camera meetings better for productivity
It is theorized that this might be connected to the fact that on-camera meetings reduce the ability of the majority of the respondents (66%) to multitask.
4. Virtual conference fatigue is real
A HubSpot report supports this, with 49% of the respondents claiming that on-camera meetings make them more exhausted. 37.1% consider Zoom fatigue as the greatest challenge of virtual meetings.
A study by Stanford researchers on video conferencing fatigue found that the excessive eye contact that occurs during virtual meetings feels intense and the cognitive load is higher compared to in-person conversations.
And there are some more interesting insights about Zoom fatigue:
Women are 2.5 times more likely to experience Zoom fatigue than men.
1 in 7 women (13.8%) said they feel very to extremely fatigued after Zoom calls, compared to around 1 in 20 men (5.5%). A simple solution is to turn off your camera during meetings.
Introverts are more likely to experience Zoom fatigue than extroverts and ambiverts.
According to the HubSpot report, 58% of the respondents who identified as “introverts” reported that being on camera made them exhausted, compared to the 40% of “extroverts” who indicated this.
When the pandemic hit, some industry experts hastily predicted that it would mark the end of on-site work and in-person interaction for teams, spelling doom for the 1.5 billion people participating in face-to-face business events globally and the $1.5 trillion GDP they represent in global GDP.
However, things are rapidly changing with many teams returning to on-site work and adopting a hybrid of virtual and on-site work and events.
1. 25% of employees mainly attend in-person meetings
25% of the respondents in the survey stated that they attend only or mainly attend in-person meetings. This figure is against the 26% that attend mainly online meetings and 49% that attend hybrid meetings.
2. 88% of companies have resumed planning physical events
According to TravelPerk, in-person meetings and events are making a comeback in 2022:
88% of companies are back to planning in-person events and team gatherings
50% of companies planning corporate events are prioritizing team-building gatherings to bring employees back together
79% of employees are most excited to get back to in-person events to meet their colleagues and build meaningful relationships
3. 47% of employees prefer in-person meetings
47%, which represents almost half, of employees, prefer physical meetings. This figure is compared against the 53% of employees who prefer virtual meetings.
Livecareer’s report tells a slightly different story. According to the report, 50% of employees prefer in-person meetings, 40% prefer online meetings, and the remaining 10% expressed no preference.
4. Employees attend more in-person meetings than virtual meetings
In what might be deemed unexpected by many, it was reported 34% of employees stated that they attend in-person meetings more often than virtual meetings in 2023.
30% of employees said that they attend online meetings more while, the majority - 35% - attend both in-person and online meetings at the same frequency.
5. 59% of professionals believe that in-person meetings make them more productive
59% of respondents surveyed in the Livecareer study said that in-person meetings make them more productive while 25% think that in-person meetings consider in-person meetings more stressful and contribute negatively to their productivity.
6. Over 60% of employees who worked from home during the pandemic prefer hybrid meetings
64% of employees who worked remotely during the pandemic said that their top meeting style preference is a hybrid video conferencing call. The appeal of hybrid meetings is that they combine both features of in-person and virtual meetings.
7. The majority of professionals attend both online and in-person meetings
Hybrid meetings are undeniably the preferred meeting type in many organizations. 49% of professionals surveyed, which make up the majority, stated that they attend both online and in-person meetings.
1. Employees prefer audio-only meetings
82.9% of professionals do not consider video necessary in every meeting while 44.94% believe audio calls are more appropriate in any meetings that do not require screen sharing.
A LoopUp report revealed that 88% of professionals believe that video conferencing is most suited for interviews and training while 53% think it is appropriate for day-to-day calls. This shares the sentiments expressed in the Dialpad report above that video conferencing is not an all-purpose solution for virtual meetings.
2. The best day for a meeting is Tuesday and the worst is Monday
Generally, employees seem to favor days in the early to middle of the workweek for scheduling meetings.
In a survey where employees were asked what the best day for a meeting was, 29% chose Tuesday while 25% preferred Wednesday.
Further, a study by YouCanBookMe, which analyzed data from more than two million responses, concluded that 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday is the best time to schedule a meeting.
Meanwhile, 47% of employees consider Monday the worst day for a meeting. Friday is a close second, according to 40% of employees in the same survey.
3. 96% of professionals have missed meetings
Here are some reasons employees gave for missing meetings:
75% of employees said that they simply didn’t feel like attending
32% blamed their absence on internet problems
28% said they missed meetings because of scheduling conflicts
27% had sick days
26% could not attend because of power outages
26% had problems with the Zoom app
22% said their computer updates were responsible
20% claimed they had doctor’s appointments
If you like most of these respondents tend to forget to join meetings or arrive late, I recommend using Airgram AI note-taker so you never miss a meeting! Once set up, the Airgram Assistant will join your online meeting at a scheduled start time.
What’s more? Airgram also allows you to live record and automatically transcribe your meeting notes. These documents will thereafter be stored on your Airgram dashboard where you can retrieve them at any time. Having seamless, productive meetings have never been easier!
4. Only 37% of meetings in the workplace use agendas
Only an abysmal 37% of meetings in the workplace use agendas, in spite of its being considered very important by 73% of professionals and its potential to decrease the meeting time by up to 80%.
You no longer need to have meetings without clear agendas. Airgram’s extensive collection of meeting agenda templates will save you the time and hassle of creating one. Simply select your preferred agenda and enjoy productive meetings!
5. Employees multitask during meetings
A study by Muse revealed that 92% of employees unintentionally multitask during meetings while 41% admit that they multitask often or all the time during meetings.
49% said that they also do unrelated work instead of paying attention to the meeting while 55% of employees in remote meetings typically respond to and write emails. This is more common in long meetings.
Most surprisingly, 91% admit having daydreamed in meetings.
6. At least 75% of employees lose attention during meetings
Livecareer’s 2023 Meeting in the Workplace revealed that 75% of workers do not pay attention during meetings. Instead, they engage in a range of unrelated activities.
HR Digest found that a whopping 95% of meeting participants lose focus and miss parts of the meeting.
Activities that employees are most likely to engage in while at meetings include:
39% of the respondents read the news on the internet
38% browse social media or read a book
35% shop online
32% begin a text message conversation with a friend
31% play online or mobile games
28%) do other work-related tasks
27% draw or doodle
When the responses were analyzed along gender lines, it was discovered that the activity most preferred by women (40%), is online shopping while most men (40%) preferred to read the news.
7. Small talk and gossip are leading causes of disruption in meetings
54% of the professionals surveyed in the Udemy Workplace Distraction Report identified small talk and office gossip as the main causes of disruptions during meetings.
Other common disruptive factors identified in the report are:
Side discussions about other projects - 45%
Late arrivals/early departures - 37%
Technology/connectivity problems - 33%
8. 52% of employees start to lose attention in meetings between 0 and 30 minutes
Livecareer’s report confirms the fact that the majority of people have short attention spans and that it is important to consider this when planning meetings.
When respondents were asked, “How long does it take for people to start losing attention in meetings?”, their responses were as follows:
Less than 10 minutes - 9%
After 20-30 minutes - 43%
After 30-40 minutes - 30%
After 40-50 minutes - 14%
After 1 hour or more - 4%
In effect, 52% of attendees lose interest in the meeting after 30 minutes and 96% of attendees stop paying attention after 50 minutes.
9. 42% of employees sometimes think, “This meeting should have been an email”.
A poll by SurveyMonkey showed that 42% of employees sometimes end up thinking, “This meeting should have been an email.” It was also revealed that 32% of employees think about it most or all of the time.
This figure is higher among remote workers specifically where over 55% think that most of their meetings “could have been an email.
10. 70% of employees think that starting meetings late is the most annoying meeting scenario.
This might be because starting meetings late only further wastes their time and extends the meeting longer than planned.
Other annoying scenarios according to how respondents ranked them are
Lack of a clear agenda or meeting plan - 69%.
Asking excessive or unnecessary questions during meetings - 66%.
Scheduling meetings too early in the day - 66%
Discussing topics that don't apply to everyone - 65%.
Going off-topic into areas unrelated to the meeting - 64%
Scheduling meetings too late in the day - 63%
Ending meetings later than their scheduled finishing time - 62%
Boring slide decks - 61%.
11. The reasons why employees like and dislike meetings
Reasons why respondents in the survey despise meetings include:
There are too many meetings - 69%
Having to work longer because meetings take too much time – 61%
Meetings drain their energy and demotivate them – 59%
Meetings, in general, are useless – 57%
Meetings kill creativity – 56%
Meetings distract and destroy workflow – 56%
Meetings are stressful – 52%
And employees like meetings because:
Meetings make decision-making easier - 74%
Time at work passes more quickly when they are in meetings - 71%
Meetings are great for networking - 71%
Meetings develop practical solutions that meet the needs of everyone present - 71%
When is the best day to have a meeting?
The best days to have a meeting are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Most professionals and researchers seem to favor Tuesday the most while Wednesday is a close second.
How long does an average business meeting last?
An average business meeting lasts between 31 minutes and an hour.
What are the biggest time wasters in meetings?
The biggest time wasters in meetings include the lack of clear objectives or an agenda, poor time management, too many attendees, poor planning or preparation, unclear communication, multitasking, and technology issues.
How many people are needed for a meeting to be successful?
The number of attendees in a meeting is often determined by several factors including the type of meeting, the goal of the meetings, and the stakeholders. But it is generally agreed that the average meeting should have no more than 6-8 people.
What are the most common distractions in meetings?
Small talk and gossip are leading causes of disruption in meetings according to 54% of the professionals
In conclusion, the world of meetings in 2023 offers a diverse range of options for organizations and individuals alike. With the rise of virtual meetings, the resurgence of in-person meetings, and the emergence of hybrid meetings, everyone can find a format that suits their needs.
Meeting data and statistics, such as these, provide crucial insights into attendance, behavior, and participation rates across different groups, thus allowing for continuous improvement. It is important to take note of them when designing your company’s approach going forward.
And as we look to the future, it is clear that meetings will continue to evolve, but the benefits of effective communication and collaboration will remain essential for success.
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Tobi is a writer and communications consultant with five years of experience in creating content for corporate and non-profit organizations. She enjoys writing on best practices for business processes, technology, ESG, and climate change.