New figures have tallied the staggering amount of time we spend in meetings throughout our working lives, highlighting the extent to which this common practice is draining productivity.
An Australian survey conducted by Deliveroo for Business found that, on average, Australians will attend a whopping 8,864 meetings.
If each of those 8,864 meetings lasted for one hour, that would equate to more than an entire year of our lives spent sitting in meetings.
And far from being an efficient use of our time, survey respondents suggested that less than half (43.9 per cent) of these meetings were actually constructive.
According to the survey, roughly one-third of employees don’t say a single word during meetings, while a quarter spend the time making a mental shopping list of groceries they need on their way home.
Even more astounding, 13 per cent admitted to dozing off during work meetings, while 7 per cent used the time to flirt with their colleagues.
“Some meetings do drag on and breaking up proceedings with breaks for tasty, high-quality food and drink can really boost people’s energy levels and enthusiasm,” suggested Juan Diego Farah, the global head of Deliveroo for Business.
The findings reflect a separate survey by recruitment firm Robert Half that workers are bored for around one-sixth of their time at work.
One means of addressing this issue is to be more diligent in scheduling meetings, so as to avoid the times of day when people are generally at their lowest energy levels.
According to psychologist and founder of The Positivity Institute, Dr Suzy Green, the 3pm slump is real, and is more common among some age groups than others.
Meanwhile leadership trainer Guy Williams suggested that all meetings should be kept to a strict schedule — if people are late, tough: the meeting does not wait for them — and follow a set agenda to deliver maximum efficiency for everyone’s time.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.