A major online survey by VisitBritain for National Meetings Week has revealed that £27.5billion is frittered away every year on unproductive meetings – and businesses say that three out of ten meetings are a waste of time.
VisitBritain’s research found that the average working person spends eight working weeks a year in meetings – almost double the typical holiday allowance. However, 29 per cent of these meetings are considered unproductive – meaning that four working days every year are frittered away unnecessarily, a wasted resource costing billions of pounds.
The average meeting costs approximately £50 per person – and with businesses increasingly looking to cut costs in light of the credit crunch, the research demonstrates that one of the simplest of business activities could also be one of the most wasteful.
Other highlights of the research include the facts the average worker loses concentration just 41 minutes into a meeting, and that one in five people think about sex during meetings (27% of men compared to 11% of women). Monday is considered to be the best day to hold a meeting, and Thursday the worst. Shockingly, 14 per cent of respondents admitted to falling asleep during a meeting.
"One of the simplest of business activities could also be one of the most wasteful"
National Meetings Week, which was launched at Event UK in Birmingham last Tuesday, is an annual awareness campaign that aims to raise the profile of the UK meetings and events industry to the wider business market.
This year VisitBritain took over management of the campaign, now in its eighth year, in a bid to widen the project’s scope and broaden its appeal across the UK meetings and events industry. Campaign activity included a six-minute piece on BBC Breakfast, discussing the benefits of a good meeting and how businesses can ensure their meetings are productive.
The campaign was also given extensive coverage on BBC Radio 2, LBC and BBC regional radio, and in print media including the Independent on Sunday, the Sun, the Daily Star, the Daily Sport, and 37 regional newspapers. In addition to the widespread PR coverage, several regional events took place across the country in Manchester, Bath and London.
Several high-profile MPs lent their support to the campaign, including John Hutton, secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform, and Don Foster, MP for Bath and shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport.
Joss Croft, VisitBritain’s head of business visits and events, said: ‘We’re delighted to have been able to raise awareness of our industry to such a great level through this week. The research has allowed us to really discuss issues surrounding meetings and events, and relate it to wider audiences. We’ve had some great feedback from the industry on how we can improve the campaign next year, and make it bigger and better.’