Are all those online meetings really necessary?

Online meetings and video conferences have increased dramatically in the last year according to research by several businesses.

As a result, it has been estimated that Almost half of the workforce in Britain and Australia, and over a third of Americans end their workday feeling mentally and physically exhausted, leading to what has been called digital fatigue.

However, one company that looked more closely into the phenomenon carried out an experiment in which workers were asked to assess the value of the time they spent in meetings.

They were asked to cancel all regular meetings with five or fewer participants and to wait for 48 hours before rescheduling those meetings they saw as valuable.

They then calculated how much time they spent in meetings after completion of the trial and the result was that on average they had saved 11 hours per month, or 17 days over the course of a year.

According to a report in Wired, “More than half (52 percent) of American workers were feeling burned out in April 2021, with more than two-thirds (67 percent) feeling this has gotten worse for them over the duration of the pandemic”.

For those working remotely were more likely to report burnout.

As a result, several businesses have decided to limit meeting times to 15 minutes and reported an improvement in staff wellbeing.

However, for the scheme to work it is important to appoint a moderator for the meeting and to set an agenda to be delivered to participants beforehand. It is also important to assess whether the meeting is really necessary before scheduling it.