Singapore workers are wasting time in pointless meetings, says study

ShoreTel, a communication solutions provider, has revealed research which shows that despite preparation time and good meeting practices, Singaporean workers are wasting significant time setting up virtual meetings.

ShoreTel’s Build a Better Meeting survey, which canvassed the meeting habits and productivity preferences of nearly 500 respondents across Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia, revealed almost one in five Singapore workers wastes between six and 10 minutes setting up each meeting. Over half of Singapore’s workforce claim this is because of a lack of clarity over conference technology or issues with bandwidth and the Internet.

Compared to their counterparts in Hong Kong and Australia, Singaporeans spend the least time in meetings each month and Singapore workers have generally good practices around those meetings with 45 percent citing that they prepare an agenda in advance. The majority (83 percent), spend under nine hours per month in meetings, and of these, most spend less than four hours. This limited time means each meeting is a crucial time for information exchange and collaboration.

However, regardless of the best practices implemented by many, another 43 percent that say they only prepare an agenda on occasion. Additionally, a third of respondents admit to doing other work in meetings, and around 1 in 10 workers acknowledge not participating at all. As a result, one in five say their meetings are only slightly productive or not productive at all.

“Singapore’s workforce does not spend the majority of their time in meetings, so these opportunities for collaboration are highly valuable to their organisations,” said Frédéric Gillant, vice president and managing director, Asia Pacific for ShoreTel. “Despite many workers setting agendas and claiming to fully participate in meetings, there are clearly some issues to address in making sure technology enables effective meetings rather than inhibits them.”

The research indicates that over half of Singapore workers do not work remotely on a regular basis. However, a third of the workforce does spend one to seven days per month working remotely which results in a clear need for organisations to ensure that all workers are able to hold efficient meetings regardless of location.

“Singapore organisations need to reconsider how they are facilitating working practices,” Gillant adds. “If employees are outside of the office or find meeting practices inefficient, measures should be put in place to ensure that remote collaboration is a viable option. Too often, the technology is too hard to use or people are not familiar with it, which causes meeting delays and hurts overall productivity.”

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