A recent report titled ‘Zoomed In, Zoned Out’ has unveiled startling statistics regarding workplace anxiety, as it reveals that a significant 80 percent of hybrid and remote employees often feel anxious or worried about attending their daily work meetings.
The report, which delves into the attitudes of employees toward business meetings in 2023, has been released by Craft Docs, a company renowned for shaping the future of document management.
The findings, based on a comprehensive survey of 2,000 respondents, are raising alarm bells within the corporate world.
When asked about their feelings concerning day-to-day work meetings, a staggering 39 percent strongly agreed with the statement that they often felt anxious or worried. An additional 42 percent somewhat agreed, leaving only 9 percent who somewhat or strongly disagreed with the statement.
This implies that anxiety regarding meetings is a pervasive issue among the workforce.
Notably, this anxiety is not confined to a specific role within organisations. The report shows that both managers and team members experience these feelings, with 83 percent of managers agreeing with the statement and 71 percent of team members expressing similar sentiments.
What is the cause of this anxiety?
One of the most concerning revelations is that a quarter of the workforce (25 percent) believes they have not gained any value from the last 4-5 meetings they attended. Furthermore, only two out of three employees (66 percent) feel they contributed any value themselves. These numbers suggest a significant lack of effective communication and engagement during meetings.
A key contributing factor to this problem seems to be the lack of preparation and organisation. Only 22 percent of respondents believe they consistently attend meetings fully prepared, indicating a need for improved planning and organisation within teams and organisations.
In addition to this, 72 percent of respondents feel that in the past two weeks, they have attended at least one meeting that could have been more effectively communicated through alternative means, such as email or written communication. Sixty percent believe the number of hours spent in meetings each week could be significantly reduced by sharing written status updates and essential information before the meeting or by using collaboration tools to communicate asynchronously.
The nature of meetings has to change
A spokesperson for Craft Docs commented on the report’s findings, stating, “Our new report highlights the need for a large number of teams and organisations to rethink how they communicate and share information and ideas across their businesses. Many respondents are not seeing value in either the quantity or quality of meetings they attend, and they believe there are not enough processes in place to ensure effective communication and efficient use of time.”
The spokesperson further added, “A staggering 74 percent of our survey respondents think that simply sharing written status updates and important information ahead of the meeting could reduce the number of hours they spend in meetings each week, and a further 70 percent stated they would like to use collaboration tools to communicate asynchronously instead. This implies that these fairly straightforward and cost-effective tools and processes aren’t already being utilised by the majority of teams, highlighting an urgent need to reimagine how we conduct business meetings in 2023.”
The report sheds light on several reasons why such a large majority of workers experience anxiety about their daily work meetings and suggests that adopting more efficient communication strategies and tools could help alleviate these anxieties.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.