Office workers spend the equivalent of two workdays a week on email and in meetings, according to Microsoft data cited by The Wall Street Journal (subscription).
What’s going on: “Researchers found that the 25% most active users of its apps—in other words, people who use Microsoft’s business software for much of their online work activity—spent an average of 8.8 hours a week reading and writing emails and 7.5 hours logging meetings.”
- In total, the average employee spent 57% of their work time using communication software (meetings, email or chat).
Why it’s important: There’s a general consensus that too much digital time can hurt worker productivity and innovation.
- In a separate Microsoft study, almost two out of three respondents said they struggled to find the time to do their jobs.
- And “[i]n a 2022 Harris Poll survey of more than 1,200 workers and executives, bosses estimated that their teams lost an average 7.47 hours a week—nearly an entire day—to poor communications.”
- That can translate to an annual cost to an employer of more than $12,000 per worker, according to the article.
How to fix it: “Too often, meetings are scheduled without clarity on what they are supposed to achieve, said Rita J. King, executive vice president of workplace-consulting firm Science House. ‘The key is to not invite someone to a meeting unless you are absolutely certain that they belong there, and you can tell them why,’ she said.”
- Microsoft has begun adding generative AI features to its core workplace tools in an effort to offload some tedious employee tasks.
- Some employees are opting for older-fashioned methods: making to-do lists and blocking off time on their calendars to get work done.