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Improving Meeting Culture: Thoughts from a Data Scientist

Ludek Stehlik
March 10, 2022
To create a thriving workplace, company leaders need to improve the employee experience in a way that empowers teams to achieve their full potential. This starts with understanding how well your teams are collaborating, so that you can save time where it matters most.

Saving time in the workplace is very important, and directly impacts the employee experience. 

One of the recommended ways to save time in meetings is through better planning — usually this is tied directly to how much time is allocated for a given meeting. As in other activities, even here the well-known ‘Parkinson's Law’ applies that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." When this is combined with the automatic use of default meeting lengths, it leads to spending more time in meetings than necessary.

For this reason, Steven Rogelberg suggests in his book, The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance, that all meeting times should be reduced by 5-10 percent across the board. To assess whether you have room for improvement, it is useful to compare actual and planned meeting lengths. 

See the chart below: 
Meetings are typically shorter than planned. The chart shows the distribution of the typical differences between actual and planned meeting lengths for each of our teams organizing online meetings over the course of a year. It clearly shows that a large proportion of teams are organizing meetings longer than necessary, by an average of 4 minutes. So in the case of our own company Time is Ltd., there definitely seems to be room for implementing Steven Rogelberg's suggestion.  

How effective is your meeting culture? 

Can you identify the indicators of poor meeting culture in your company? Senior managers and team leaders oversee and/or report on several business metrics. Tracking employee performance, revenue, deliverables etc., is commonplace, yet the biggest factor that contributes to all of these isn’t measured in a traditional sense — time spent on collaboration. 

Meetings often go shorter or longer than planned. This may seem harmless, but these micro time transgressors add up, and they cut into crucial focus time. Employees the world over are suffering from meetingitis, and it’s more costly than you think. Excessive and inefficient meetings lead to employee burnout (they need to make up for lost time which extends the working day), ineffective meetings create frustration and lack of participation, and this ultimately results in unsuccessful outcomes.

We’re already seeing employees dropping out of the American workforce at a massive rate. Poor employee experience and engagement is driving The Great Resignation. Don’t be among those employers, data can help you get ahead. 

The Takeaway 

Improving the employee experience starts with saving time, and meetings are a great place to start. Smart meeting practices, like creating and sticking to an agenda and limiting the number of participants, will help you create the space for constructive meetings to take place. 

Time is Ltd. can empower you to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how your teams collaborate across your organization's entire digital landscape. We’ve helped companies cut 30% of ineffective meetings, 17% of employee burnout and annual turnover, and increase employee satisfaction by 23%

Get in touch at to start making more-informed decisions to improve the employee experience. 

Ludek Stehlik

Meeting Culture

Redundant meetings, meetings with no agenda, and presenteeism are costing your company both money and talent right now. Here’s how to fix it.

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