This is because productivity directly translates into revenues. But when it comes to employee productivity, one issue that goes completely out of the discussion relates to factors that cause employee distraction multiple times a day.
Having too many distractions at work reduce the quality of work, lead to missed deadlines and great losses in revenue. They are the silent but biggest productivity killers which often go completely unaddressed.
Distractions at work are of two kinds. One is created by employees themselves, which are under their control (use of mobile phones, social media, breaks etc.). However, distractions are also caused by other factors which are beyond employee control. The biggest among them is meetings.
The idea of conducting meetings is to build team spirit and coherence in the larger scheme of things. This is among departments as well as within team members of one department. However, most meetings end up being a complete waste of time because they are not well planned. I have personally attended so many meetings which are conducted just for the sake of it. I am sure even you have. There is a general lack of realization that unplanned and unnecessary meetings can lower productivity levels and frustrate employees beyond repair.
There are several problems with inefficiently conducted meetings. First, the presence of one authoritative voice leading the conversation and setting the pace for the rest of the members. This one person is mostly dominating the flow of communication and is also in complete charge of approving or rejecting ideas from other members. There can also be more than one voice, but mostly from people higher in the organizational hierarchy. Such an approach might not make other members in meetings comfortable, as there might be introverts too. The aim of a meeting should be to make everyone comfortable enough to express their opinions, without the fear of being judged. This is what we call psychological safety, one of the biggest indicator of a successful team as per a study by Google.
The second most common problem with meetings is the involvement of too many people. These people just sit through them, without learning or contributing to it at all. 91% of employees admit to daydreaming during meetings and 39% even admit to dozing off! Can you blame them? While they are doing this, they are losing out on precious time that they could be using to finish important tasks at hand. These are the people who are continuously thinking. “Why am I here?” Perhaps this is why 73% of employees have admitted to bringing other work to meetings. It should be remembered that everyone is busy and unless the agenda is immediately relevant to the employee in question, there is no need to involve everyone.
Meetings take up 15% of companies’ time on an average and the benefits of these meetings remain questionable. Every such distraction, no matter how brief, comes at a price paid by companies in terms of hours of lost productivity and increased stress. According to a survey by Atlassian, 31 hours are spent in unproductive meetings per month. Every minute wasted in a meeting is a cost to the company conducting it. If you are to believe it, companies are estimated to lose over $75 million a year due to poor meetings!
Companies need to start measuring and setting goals for lowering the total amount of time teams spend on meetings. Managers need to ask how they can make meetings the most effective and value worthy. They need to ask if they are even necessary or can be replaced with quicker and far more effective ways to communicate. Asking team members for their inputs could be a way to start making meetings more streamlined.