Given tech’s collaborative reputation and the lack of cubicles in many of its leading offices, perhaps it’s less than surprising to learn it holds more meetings than any other industry, according to a recent survey by unified communications (UC) provider ShoreTel.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company also found that tech firms are more likely to conduct meetings remotely than any other industry – though all sectors surveyed were equally likely to find meetings valuable, with only 11 per cent of respondents saying they considered them a waste of time.

That last detail was one of several results that contradicted conventional wisdom, ShoreTel wrote in a June 28 blog post discussing its “Build a Better Meeting Challenge,” an online survey that polled more than 1,000 people regarding their business meeting experiences between January and April.

“Contrary to what many people feel today – i.e. that there are too many meetings that get in the way of real work and that meetings are in general a waste of time useful only for multitasking – ShoreTel’s Build a Better Meeting Challenge found the opposite to be true,” the company wrote.

Instead, 40 per cent of all survey respondents reported that meetings were “productive,” while 48 per cent said they were “sort of productive.”

And while baby boomers (which the survey defined as workers born between 1943 and 1964) were slightly more likely than millennials (defined as those born between 1980 and 2000) to consider meetings productive (47 and 34 per cent, respectively), only nine per cent of boomers and 11 per cent of millennials called them “a waste of time.”

Other findings included:

  • 28 per cent of Gen X’ers (born between 1965 and 1979) spent more than nine hours in weekly meetings, making them the most meeting-friendly generation;
  • 30 per cent of tech workers spent more than nine hours in meetings, making tech the most meeting-friendly industry;
  • 76 per cent of respondents said they spent one hour or less each weekday in meetings;
  • Globally, 64 per cent of respondents said they prefer meeting in conference rooms;
  • However, tech sector respondents reported attending meetings remotely half the time.
  • And while you might expect many attendees to check e-mail or finish work during a meeting, 67 per cent of respondents said they listen and take notes, with 25 per cent admitting they get other work done, and only eight per cent checking personal email, texting or social media.

Among the survey’s 1,006 respondents, 26 per cent were millennials, 42 per cent were gen X, and 28 per cent were boomers; 31 per cent of respondents worked in enterprises, 39 per cent in midsize companies, and 30 per cent in startups or small businesses; 92 per cent were from North America, with the remaining eight per cent spread across other continents; the six main industries covered were education, finance, government, healthcare, marketing, and technology, with the last accounting for 21 per cent of respondents and the remaining “other” covering 27 per cent.

You can read the full survey results here.

For the record, ITBusiness.ca held only one meeting discussing the publication of this story, and it ran for less than an hour.

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