One-Quarter of Full-Time Workers Would Prefer Fewer Meetings over a 10% Raise, According to Xembly Survey

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Workers spend one full workday per week in unproductive meetings, according to survey conducted by Xembly, the first intelligent automation tool for meetings

U.S. workers spend 31 percent of their time in meetings, and only about half are productive, according to a survey of more than 1,000 office workers conducted by Xembly, the first intelligent automation tool for meetings, which is launching in beta this week.

Workers say too many unproductive meetings cause burnout (35 percent) and another 38 percent say under-optimized meetings cause them to sacrifice personal time to get their work done. Twenty-two percent of workers would rather they never have to attend another unnecessary meeting than receive a 10 percent raise. That’s even higher for people who spend more time in meetings. Of those who spend more than three-quarters of their work week in meetings, 29 percent would rather cut down on unnecessary meetings than get a 10 percent raise.

Xembly is software that helps workers reclaim time and improve the impact of meetings by applying AI to automate mundane meeting tasks, decisions and actions across the meeting lifecycle. The software nudges users into better meeting hygiene and habits, surfaces data-driven insights to improve meetings, and automatically executes tasks on their behalf. The company is in a new category of software called Synchronous Collaboration Management (SCM), which is designed to manage the full lifecycle of synchronous collaboration.

“Meetings aren’t just broken—they’re dangerous,” said Founder and CEO Pete Christothoulou. “Unproductive meetings are not only a serious performance drag, they are employee engagement and mental health daggers. Show me a company who hasn’t improved their meeting culture and I’ll show you employees who are likely job hunting. As we enter a new, post-pandemic normal, people have a real opportunity to reset their approach to the workday — and to use technology to create one that is better optimized for productivity and happiness.”

“I’ve been impressed by the immediate value Xembly brings to meeting efficiency,” said Matt Booth, president of Urgently, and Xembly beta user. “From agenda planning to feedback loops, Xembly has enabled me to increase productivity and allocate more time to strategic activities, while also contributing to better work-life balance.”

Meeting’s biggest problems
When asked about the biggest challenges workers face in meetings, they most often said many of the meetings they attend are not necessary (36 percent), that meetings are too long (33 percent) and that meetings don’t start or end on time (31 percent).

Poor planning or lack of agenda were also big issues, with 30 percent saying other attendees frequently hijack meetings, getting topics off-track; 27 percent saying meetings don’t have clear agendas or goals; and 20 percent saying there are no materials or preparation materials provided in advance.

Question: What are the top five biggest challenges you currently face in work meetings? (Select five that apply)

  • Meeting is not necessary - 36.3%
  • Meetings are too long; possible to accomplish in less time - 33.4%
  • Meetings do not start or end on time - 30.8%
  • Attendees frequently hijack the meeting; topics to not stay on track - 29.6%
  • Participants don't engage in the discussion - 28.7%
  • No clear agenda or meeting goal - 28.7%
  • Environment makes it difficult to share opinions openly (trust) - 21.9%
  • Hard to know how, or collect data to, improve meetings - 21.3%
  • Clear actions, owners and timeline at meeting conclusion are not clear - 20.5%
  • There are no materials or preparation items provided in advance - 19.6%
  • Poor or no meeting materials provided during meeting - 17.9%
  • Meeting is too big / too many people - 17.6%
  • Participants ignore company values - 16.3%
  • Meeting participants are not respectful - 15.2%

Building a better meeting
The ingredients to ease the pain of meetings are clear, with nearly half of respondents saying a clear agenda and goal are the most important requirements for a productive meeting. Ensuring the meetings are pertinent to attendees is also important, with nearly 18 percent saying meetings should be directly related to their goals and 16 percent saying it’s important to ensure only those who need to participate attend.

Question: In your opinion, what's the most important requirement for a productive meeting?

  • A clear agenda and goal - 45.9%
  • Meeting is directly related to my goals - 17.7%
  • Ensuring only those who need to participate attend - 16%
  • Good meeting notes - 10.8%
  • Clear actions and owners - 8.4%
  • Other - 1.25%

Fewer, more productive meetings = doing a better job + having a better life
If workers could spend less time in unproductive meetings, most said they would spend that time being better at their jobs. Fifty-five percent said they would get more work done, and 37 percent said they would learn or develop work-related skills and knowledge.

One-third said they would spend more time with family; 25 percent would focus on a hobby; and 23 percent would get more exercise.

You can sign-up for Xembly, which is now in private beta, at

About Xembly
Xembly was founded by a team of technology executives with experience in workplace productivity, analytics, and artificial intelligence who, by their calculations, had collectively spent 30 years of their lives in unproductive meetings. Xembly is software that helps workers reclaim time and improve the impact of meetings by applying AI to automate meeting excellence and streamline tasks, decisions and actions.

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Anna Saufferer
Kingston Marketing Group
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