Meeting Optimization Too

According to a new international study from Doodle, by research group LMRMC, business professionals spend 4.9 hours of an average workweek to arrange, on average, seven meetings. And, traditional means for meeting coordination dominate the situation in today's businesses: email, electronic calendars and meeting requests, telephone and online calendars. Except for holidays, says the report, that's 230 hours spent arranging meetings, not attending them, or 29 working days, nearly six working weeks a year.

Overall findings from 2,500 administrative and management staff from UK, US, France, Germany and the Nordic region were:

Meetings And Planning

Number of meetings arranged

7.1 meetings per week

Average time spent arranging meetings

4.9 h per week

Percentage of meetings rearranged


Average meeting duration

2 3/4 hours

Average number of participants in the meetings


Source: Doodle, May 2009

Email remains the most common way to organize meetings for both managers and administrative professionals, closely followed by calendar systems. The practice of arranging meetings via online calendars, such as Google Calendar or Yahoo! Calendar, represents a significant share. However, professionals using these calendars declared to spend the same average time for scheduling each week as professionals using other means.

Most Popular Tools to Schedule Meetings (% of Respondents)


Administrative Staff











Online calendars



Source: Doodle, May 2009

The survey found that face-to-face meetings are less important than expected, possibly due to increased pressure on our time, and the ease presented by modern technologies to create effective meetings either by phone, video or Web.

Types Of Meetings Arranged In The Week Prior To Questioning (% of Respondents)

Meeting Type

% of Respondents

Face to Face


Conference calls


Web based meetings


Private meetings


Source: Doodle, May 2009

The average length of a meeting is two hours and 45 minutes, with a fifth of meetings lasting much longer at four to five hours. Managers tend to organize seven meetings a week, and attend meetings they arranged. This means they spend at least 19 hours and 15 minutes, almost half their official working week, in meetings.

The study found that managers are more likely to use the phone to arrange meetings, and, when managers organize meetings, they are more likely to be rearranged.

Medium-sized companies are more efficient at sticking to agreed times for meetings than small or large companies, says the report. While one in every six meetings overall needs to be rearranged, medium sized companies find they only need to reorganize an eighth of their meetings - and large companies tend to rearrange almost twice as many meetings.

Survey summary:

  • Business professionals organize seven meetings a week on average, with the mean length of each being two hours 45 minutes
  • Most meetings have at least four or five participants
  • Across Europe and the US, administrative staff use calendar systems (34%) more than managers (27%)
  • 34% of managers prefer email to arrange meetings vs. 30% of the administrative staff
  • Managers typically need to rearrange more meetings than their assistants, with 69% of managers needing to reschedule get-togethers compared with 46% of administrative arrangements.

For additional information, please visit Doodle here.

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