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Remote working is actually increasing the amount of time we spend in meetings

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Whoever said remote working improved productivity clearly didn’t take marathon video conferencing calls and numerous one-on-one meetings into consideration, as a new report claims remote workplaces actually result in increased meeting load and, as a consequence - longer working days. 

Asynchronous collaboration and communication may be gaining popularity, but it results in workers struggling with more meetings. As there are fewer opportunities to reschedule them, employees are often forced to start the day earlier, and end it later, than usual.

The report from Reclaim.ai, an intelligent productivity and time blocking app for Google Calendar sampled aggregated and anonymized calendar app data, as well as polling more than 15,000 employees from different verticals. It found that workers now spend 25.3% more time in meetings compared to the pre-pandemic month of February 2020. Furthermore, the company found that employees now spend 308.8% more time in one-on-one meetings, as well.

Productivity killer 

Unable to reschedule these meetings, employees are often forced to check in earlier, and stay at work for longer. As a result, the length of the average workday rose by 13.2%, from 8.95 hours, to 10.13 hours. 

Reclaim.io claims one-on-one meetings are the “key driver” in the overall increase in meetings and longer workdays. As a percentage of weekly meetings, one-on-ones rose 226.3% compared to before the pandemic. Weekly meetings of this sort used to take up 1.4 hours a week, or 5.5% of the average meeting load in February 2020, but rose to 5.9 hours, or 17.8% in October 2021.

Furthermore, these meetings were rescheduled 42.4% of the time, and canceled 29.6% of the time. 

“While moving events around on the calendar might seem like a simple task in the moment, it has a wide array of downstream impacts on productivity, employee happiness, and retention,” said Patrick Lightbody, CEO and co-founder of Reclaim.ai. 

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