Survey: Workers reveal their biggest complaints about meetings

New research from Accountemps shows that 66% of office workers say a meeting that “starts or ends late” is their biggest complaint about them. But while 36% of employees say that they feel “less engaged” when meetings are held remotely, the same group says that they spend an average of 24% of their time overall in meetings.

Independent research firms polled more than 1,000 American, adult office workers “and more than 2,000 finance leaders from companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.”

Workers’ most popular meeting complaints

Respondents could pick more than one option. These are the ones that were chosen most often:

  • “Starts or ends late:” 66%
  • “It’s unnecessary (e.g., could’ve been handled over email):” 63%
  • “Too much or not enough time allotted:” 57%
  • “Attendees distracted (using a phone, checking email, doodling, etc.):” 57%
  • “Attendees interrupt each other:” 55%
  • “Not sticking to an agenda when one is provided:” 49%
  • “Attendees unprepared:” 47%

While employees say that an average of 25% of their “time in meetings is wasted,” those surveyed in finance said that they spend an average of 24% of their overall time in them. Those in this latter category also said that an average of 21% of their “time in meetings is wasted.”

Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps, commented on the research in a statement.

“People complain about how much time they spend in meetings, and it’s true that not all of them are necessary. … 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,” he said.