Categories: Tech

Unnecessary meetings draining employee productivity: Report

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Organizations are reaching a tipping point when it comes to workplace productivity, with large numbers of employees saying too much of their time is still being spent on “work over work” rather than the skilled, strategic work they were hired to do, according to Asana’s latest Anatomy of Work global index.

The report includes findings from a survey of 9,615 knowledge workers—commonly defined as workers whose work primarily consists of creatively acquiring and using information—in the United States, UK, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan, and examines some of the biggest barriers they currently face in the workplace.

On average, those surveyed said work over work takes up 58% of their working day, skilled work 33% and strategic work only 9%.

Work over work, according to Asana, is any activity you do during the day that isn’t the actual skilled work you were hired to do, such as marketing analytics or coding. Instead, it’s the mundane tasks that most people just assume are part of the job.

The biggest waste of time remains unnecessary meetings — 3.6 hours a week for those in senior leadership roles and 2.8 hours a week for knowledge workers — a figure that has grown since last year’s report. Executives were also 30% more likely than the average worker to miss deadlines due to too many video calls or meetings.

In addition, employees now not only attend more meetings, but those meetings are also getting longer. The survey found that, across the board, more time is being spent on audio, video, and face-to-face meetings than a year ago. 32% of knowledge workers say video calls take more time and 22% say the same for audio calls .

Knowledge workers surveyed for the report also estimated that 4.9 hours per week would be saved if their company had improved processes, such as streamlined application usage. The research shows that the average number of apps used at work is 8.8 for knowledge workers and 10 for board-level executives or higher.

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Collaboration remains key to driving productivity and growth

While unnecessary meetings negatively impact knowledge workers, having an effective collaboration strategy has clear benefits for both organizations and employees. The report shows that companies that prioritize collaboration are more likely to experience growth and higher productivity levels.

The survey found that among employees of what Asana labels as collaborative organizations, 92% said their work had value, compared to just 50% of employees at companies with weak collaborative practices.

In addition, 79% of employees at collaborative organizations said they feel well prepared to respond to challenges, while 87% said their organization is capable of meeting customer expectations. By way of comparison, for employees of non-cooperative organisations, these figures are 20% and 37% respectively.

Given the current macroeconomic environment, growth is a top agenda item for businesses and the report showed that organizations that have effective collaboration strategies are more likely to grow than those that don’t, 55% compared to 25%.

Collaborative organizations can also benefit from higher retention rates, especially if employees are given clear, connected goals that tie into overarching business objectives. The report found that 87% of employees with clear goals said they could see themselves working at their current company in the coming year — more than double those who said their company didn’t have one.

The current economic uncertainty is forcing companies to rethink how teams work together to drive greater efficiency and growth, said Anne Raimondi, chief operating officer at Asana, in comments published along with the report. “Leaders have a huge impact on creating smarter, more productive ways for their teams to collaborate. Instead of adding meetings and apps to an already overburdened workforce, they can choose to innovate and create intentional, asynchronous forms of collaboration and innovation, making the most of their employees’ time and talent and delivering better results. delivering results for their clients,” she said.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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