Managing Too Many Meetings at Work


Meetings serve varying purposes. Some are useful for brainstorming sessions and informal social gatherings, while others are imperative for catch-ups and strategic planning. But there is a consensus that too many meetings in the workplace could do more harm than good.

A study conducted by the University of North Carolina revealed that excessive meetings kept 65% of senior managers from completing their work, 71% of whom reported that meetings were inefficient and unproductive. An approximate 64% of the senior managers agreed that meetings were at the expense of deep thinking.

According to research published in the Journal of Business Research, newly promoted managers made the situation worse by holding 29% more gatherings than their seasoned counterparts, which has been made worse since the transition to a remote workplace.

How can you limit this frequency but still achieve a high level of efficiency and productivity? For one thing, it’s a good idea to start time tracking for overall workplace productivity. With TimeTrack’s Appointment Scheduler, you will get a transparent overview of time spent in a day.



TimeTrack Appointment Scheduler

Excessive meetings at work

Too many meetings has negative consequences for organizations and teams. On a practical level, it leaves employees with little or no time for productive tasks. These sessions can ruin enthusiasm, deplete mental energy and lower morale and motivation. They are also a waste of company resources, time and money because of the work that sits undone.

There are several reasons that meetings linger and remain unproductive. These include meetings that lack a rational purpose, have too much idle chatter, and jump around between different purposes.

Plus there’s the inefficient use of technology. If you have ever been in a conference call where participants ask, “What slide are we on? Who is on the call? Which version of the file are we looking at? Who just joined?”, you know the frustration! And it’s made worse by gatherings where one person monopolizes the discussion.

A productive meeting has a clear start and end point, takeaway notes and an outcome.



Downsides of too many meetings

How many meetings are too many?

Meeting overload has a psychological cost and can add anxiety and stress to a strained workforce. For instance, employees could get nervous over missed deadlines. A Vouchercloud study revealed that UK office workers spent almost three hours in daily meetings. Think about how much work could be done in that time!

It makes sense to limit team sessions. The average meeting should ideally last between 30 to 60 minutes and not exceed three a day while focusing on improving efficiency and productivity.

Give TimeTrack a try for free and assess your team’s productivity.

Too many meetings to get work done

Too many meetings impact every organization. They reduce productivity and roadblock progress. Many people report that wasting time unnecessarily prevents them from making significant contributions to work.

Meetings disrupt workflow. Therefore, rather than focusing on workflow, performance and productivity, employees worry about delays in time spent in unproductive meetings. These time-wasters hinder the execution of work that furthers the company’s mission, and when this lost time is aggregated, it could have an enormous impact on the company’s long-term growth.

In turn, poor company growth and bureaucracy negatively impact employee retention. Inefficient meetings can lead to demotivation because of anxiety, emotional burnout and anger.

How to eliminate (unnecessary) meetings

Any minute spent in meetings is time spent without doing major work. Too many meetings limit deep work, which is focusing on cognitively demanding tasks without distraction. This is evidenced in a University of Carolina study where 65% of senior managers agree that meetings prevent them from completing their work.

Determine the purpose of the meeting

If you often have recurring meetings, invite staff to give input on the usefulness of these sessions. Is it helping them meet their deadlines or with actual work? Where this is not the case, they should identify how to enhance the meeting or eliminate it.

To fix the error and make the best use of your employees, ensure that all meetings have an obvious purpose and goals. You can have fewer meetings by deciding if a particular message even requires a gathering.

Each of the participants should have input. Ensure that your agenda outlines the expected outcome of the session, and that you distribute the meeting agenda ahead of time.

Limit the number of participants

Meetings are highly efficient with fewer participants. Only invite employees who can contribute knowledge and new perspectives; those who have the authority to make decisions and are accountable for results implementation.

You need to create a work environment where staff can freely opt out of meetings. This is beneficial where employees feel they have no meaningful contribution and that their time is better used for work.

Keep things on track and distribute minutes afterward. Stick to the agenda of the meeting till the end. If participants go off the topic, redirect them and work towards preventing this in subsequent meetings.

While you must keep track of every meeting, you also need to track project workflow and your expenses just as you track employee working hours. This is crucial especially when you are working with clients because you should also monitor how much time and money you’re spending on a specific project. This is one of the benefits of timesheets.


Establish meeting days and meeting-free days

Keep employees productive with specific hours and days for gatherings. Avoid scattered sessions throughout the day, which is annoyingly disruptive. Remember also that with hybrid workers, you need to be flexible. Rather, organize meetings around employees’ windows. Designate a block of time and track everything with TimeTrack. Tracking promotes efficiency and productivity.

Prevent meeting overload

If you observe that the meeting calendar of your company overwhelms you, stop, re-prioritize, reschedule and create a timetable that promotes efficiency and productivity. Not every meeting is necessary!

Meeting management for increased productivity

  • Make your goals clear and your agenda creative.
  • If possible, meet outside the office for a dose of energy and break from routine.
  • Follow up with your team afterward to ensure it was productive.
  • Ensure everyone has an agenda.

Try stand-ups to keep employees engaged and make them feel more collaborative. Create room for idea generation and discussion. Above all, don’t lose focus and avoid multitasking. One task at a time saves time.

Finally, too many meetings in the workplace has consequences both on the employees and the organisation. You can switch to fewer sessions with the strategies above.

Importantly, you can save financial and time resources by tracking workflow and company processes with TimeTrack. The software that makes it easier for employees to record their working hours and gives managers a better overview of the company. It promotes easy workflow by allowing you to fully automate task planning, record working hours overtime, absences and more.



Task Planning – TimeTrack


Take note of your company’s meeting schedules and see how you can be more efficient. Test TimeTrack for free.