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March 30, 2023

Minutes (Wasted) of Meeting: 50 Shocking Meeting Statistics

‘Meeting minutes’ - more like meeting hours. An increase in the number of meetings is no surprise in today's hustle culture and the ease with which we can "grab time on someone's calendar". Meetings may seem to be a productive use of time, where employees discuss important points and get to the next step.

However, quantity does not mean quality. The number of meetings has risen over the years, while the quality has dropped. Not only are meetings becoming more ineffective, but they've also become more expensive.

We've helped you quantify your time in meetings, right here, in 50 statistics:

Statistics are from Doodle, Ovum, AskCody, ReadyTalk, Atlassian, Dialpad, Wundamail, and WSJ.

Meeting Times

  • Time spent in meetings has been rising by 8% to 10% annually since 2000.
  • 51% of the surveyed employees agreed that the number of meetings is rising.

This could be due to the shift in work culture, as today’s companies are less hierarchical, hence, employees are more self-directed. Employees' voices are being heard, and meetings are often the gateway to those ideas.

How much time did the average employee spend in video meetings in 2021?

  • 46% spend less than 4 hours in meetings each week
  • 37% spend 4 to 12 hours (10 to 30% of the week)
  • 11% spend 12 to 20 hours (30 to 50% of the week), and
  • 4.73% spend 20+ hours, or over 50%, of their week in meetings

That means the majority (about 83%) spend up to a third of the workweek in meetings!

With Zoom and Teams meetings being ubiquitous in recent years, it's become much easier to schedule more meetings, and go over time.

How many meetings on average are people having per week?

  • 8 meetings per week across all employee types and company size.
  • 10 meetings per week for all employees above junior level.
  • 12 meetings per week for executive management and higher.
  • 17 meetings per week for VP, director and c-level roles in highly collaborative industries.

The marketing and advertising industry also sees the most number of meetings across all industries.

As expected,

  • 47% complained that meetings wasted their time the most at work.
  • 45% felt overwhelmed by the number of meetings they attended.

The problem sometimes might not be the time spent itself, but the inefficient use of that time.

Time Lost

  • 71% of professionals waste time every week due to unnecessary or cancelled meetings.
  • 31 hours are spent on unproductive meetings monthly (more than a full day!)

We've spent days (even weeks) in our lives waiting for a meeting to start.

  • Average delay per meeting for employees is 10 minutes and 40 seconds, equivalent to 3 days and 2 hours lost annually.
  • Average delay for senior executives is 15 minutes and 42 seconds. That's 5 days and 19 hours lost annually!

Even figuring out where a meeting can take place is a time sink.

  • 40% of workers waste up to 30 minutes just searching for a collaborative space for meetings.
  • The average worker spends an hour and 9 minutes simply preparing for each meeting.

Money Lost

Time is money. Not only is time lost, money is lost through poorly held meetings as well.

  • The salary cost of an hour-long meeting with 5 attendees (from specialist to director level) is $338 USD. Calculation here.
  • All those video calls aren't free either. They'll still cost $1,250 per employee monthly when it comes to time wasted on unnecessary ones.

Methods to Connect

The power of physical connection remains despite the domination of technology, especially as face-to-face meetings have been restricted due to the pandemic.

  • 76% of professionals prefer face-to-face meetings over other methods.

They feel like it’s easier to make important decisions. They also agreed on how meeting in person helps them understand the receiving party better.

  • 7% prefer conference calls.
  • 5% prefer video calls.
  • 4% prefer instant messaging/email.

Even though they're now in the mainstream, frequent video calls do lead to decreased productivity. Accroding to Wundamail research

  • 42% of video call participants have said they dial in and contribute nothing
  • 27% find them "the biggest communication barrier" and 30% don't complete actions agreed on during the meeting, due to a tendency to not recall key information after the meeting is completed
  • 56% wish they spent less time on video calls in general

We should then be wary of treating our now regular video calls as just ticking off a task in a checklist and increase their quality, as opposed to their quantity.

Rise and Whine

Most prefer morning meetings, perhaps as a fresh start to the day.

  • 70% of professionals think that morning, specifically between 8am-12pm, is the best time to hold a meeting.  
  • 19% believe it to be the afternoon, between 12pm to 5pm.
  • 9% believe it to be between 6am to 8 am.
  • 2% believe it to be after 5pm, in the evening.

According to an article from FastCompany, we should rethink our morning meetings because they may not be as productive as we think they'll be. Non-morning people may come in rushed and unprepared. Alternately, those that work best in the mornings may get more focused, "deep work" done at that time.

In terms of days of the week, Dialpad found that Mondays are found to be the day professionals have the most meetings, whereas Wednesdays are when they have the longest meetings.

So, keep that in mind when you're trying to schedule a meeting to hit sales goals or discuss an important matter.

Attention to Attendance

How can you hold a meeting without people? You can’t. Unless your quorum is one person and that person is the host.


  • 96% of employees have missed meetings.
  • 91% have daydreamed during meetings.
  • 39% have slept during meetings.
  • 73% have worked on other things during meetings.

Along those lines,

  • 57% of professionals think that improperly attended meetings are the biggest cost to their company.

The majority agreed on the biggest cost as low attendance. If somehow 96% of employees invited don’t attend your meeting, expect more downstream costs waiting to happen.

Biggest Meeting Irritations

Interestingly, the number of meetings is not the biggest pain point when it comes to meetings. Audio and video issues are bigger causes of headaches, and can often affect the quality of a meeting.

Here are what professionals think the biggest irritations in meetings are:

  • 55% thinks taking phone calls or making texts is the most irritating.
  • 50%: people who interrupt others.
  • 50% audio-related issues
  • 49%: arriving late or leaving early.
  • 49%: people who don’t listen to others.
  • 46%: people who talk about nothing for long periods of time.
  • 34%: hard to read the room
  • 31%: video quality issues
  • 28%: too many meetings

These, in turn, can factor into ineffective meetings. The consequences of those meetings can lead to weak results.

Consequences of Ineffective Meetings

  • 44%: ‘Not enough time to do the rest of my work.’
  • 43%: ‘Unclear actions leading to confusion.’
  • 38%: ‘Bad organization results in a loss of focus on projects.’
  • 31%: ‘Irrelevant attendees slows down progress.’
  • 26%: ‘Inefficient processes weaken client/supplier relationships.’

Bad meetings can be a huge detriment to the company, not just internally, but it externally affect relationships with clients. Don’t let the mess of meetings damage the company’s image.

Meeting for Success

So, what can you do to make a meeting more successful?

  • 72% of professionals believe that setting clear objectives is what makes a meeting successful.
  • 67% believe that it's having a clear agenda.
  • 35% believe that it's having less people in the room.
  • Visual stimulus like PowerPoint presentations are less important, with only 27% on that view.

The be-all and end-all of meetings lies in defining outcomes in other words, the goals that need to be achieved during and after discussion. Keep this in mind every time you schedule a meeting, or as feedback for your colleagues. That's going to be a lot of time and money saved in the long run.

So before you block 1 hour on your colleagues' calendars, consider first - can this be done in 20 minutes instead?

To understand more on the art of meetings, check out some of our blog posts on...

Best and Worst Places for a Business Meeting

5 Tips On How to Have An Effective Standup Meeting

For a fun treat, check out...

History of Meetings: From Agora to Zoom

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