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Read about our latest research, including results from our ongoing surveys of senior managers and workers, and company announcements.

Meeting Of The Minds: Workers And Executives Dread Wasted Time, Disengagement
- On average, workers spend 21 percent of their time in meetings and feel 25 percent of it is wasted
- Common issues include starting or ending late, unnecessary gatherings, poor scheduling, and distracted employees
- Thirty-six percent of workers say they're less engaged when they join a meeting remotely

MENLO PARK, Calif., July 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Love 'em or hate 'em, meetings are an essential platform for sharing information, brainstorming new ideas and collaborating as a team. But are they always necessary? It doesn't seem so, finds new research from Accountemps. Professionals surveyed said they spend more than one-fifth (21 percent) of their work hours in meetings but feel a quarter of that time is wasted.

Time Spent (And Wasted) In Meetings

The response from finance leaders was similar: Slightly more of their time (24 percent) is spent in meetings, and they feel 21 percent of that is unproductive.

Workers cited the most common issues in meetings include*:

Starts or ends late


It's unnecessary (e.g., could've been handled over email)


Too much or not enough time allotted


Attendees distracted (using phone, checking email, doodling, etc.)


Attendees interrupt each other


Not sticking to an agenda when one is provided


Attendees unprepared


*Top responses only; multiple responses allowed

View an infographic about meeting pain points.

Additional findings:

  • Thirty-six percent of workers admitted they're less engaged during remote meetings, while 47 percent of finance leaders said the same regarding their staff.
  • Finance leaders said that, on average, 20 percent of their meetings are conducted through online meeting platforms. 

"People complain about how much time they spend in meetings, and it's true that not all of them are necessary," said Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps. "But it's also true that these gatherings, whether they're held on-site or remotely, are often the most efficient way to communicate, collaborate and come to a decision. Both meeting planners and attendees can control whether or not a meeting is productive."

Accountemps offers the following ways to remedy the biggest meeting issues:

For meeting planners:

  • Consider alternatives. If all you need to do is give brief updates, email will suffice. But when you want to build consensus, get buy-in or find solutions — anything that requires a discussion — meetings are the way to go.
  • Limit attendees. Invite only those who need to participate. Smaller meetings tend to run more efficiently than larger ones.
  • Time it right. There's no rule that meetings must be scheduled in 30-minute increments. Consider 15- or 45-minute sessions if you can cover everything in a shorter period.
  • Meet in person. Phone conferences are practical, saving companies time and money. But for long-format meetings, when you need everyone's attention and participation, bring staff in-house.
  • Create an agenda. Structure can set expectations and save time. Assign owners to topics and let them know the allotted timeframe they have to speak. Send the agenda out in advance so participants can contribute to the meeting.

For attendees:

  • Be prepared. Nothing wastes more time than attendees who aren't ready to speak, don't have the right handouts or must search their computer to find information.
  • Arrive on time. When you're late to a meeting, other participants must either wait for you (which wastes time) or start without you (causing you to miss vital information).
  • Pay attention. It's poor workplace etiquette to focus on your phone or laptop while others are speaking. When you listen intently and ask good follow-up questions, not only do you leave better informed, but you also impress your boss and colleagues.
  • Take turns. There's nothing more frustrating than people talking over each other. If you start speaking after someone else does, be gracious and yield the floor to them.

About the Research
The surveys were developed by Accountemps and conducted by independent research firms. They include responses from more than 1,000 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments, and more than 2,000 finance leaders from companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. 

About Accountemps
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 300 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company's blog, can be found at



SOURCE Accountemps

For further information: Bianca De Rose, (650) 234-6022,