Almost 30% spend 11-15 minutes struggling with meeting technology.
Hong Kong workers waste massive amounts of time and energy just setting up virtual meetings as a result of technologies that are unintuitive, overly complex or outdated, according to a survey by ShoreTel.
ShoreTel’s Build a Better Meeting survey, which canvassed the meeting habits and productivity preferences of nearly 500 respondents in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia, found that the average Hong Kong executive wastes over 50 working hours just managing the logistics of setting up meetings. Even for those who manage to enter a meeting, productivity levels remain low, with the majority admitting they are often distracted by something other than the task at hand.
“In supposedly tech-savvy Hong Kong, nearly a third (30%) of respondents reported spending 11 to 15 minutes struggling to set up their meeting technology, and 10% spent even longer,” said Frédéric Gillant, vice president and managing director, Asia Pacific for ShoreTel. “Over the course of weeks and months, that adds up to a huge amount of time that could be spent more productively on things like discussing key business challenges and finding solutions.”
Bandwidth issues and Internet problems (39%), combined with unclear or missing details on local dial-ins or access points (26%) were the main barriers preventing Hong Kong firms from getting the most out of meeting technology. Additionally, 16% cited outdated technology as a challenge.
While communication technologies are transforming the workplace and the ways in which we interact with each other, Gillant notes that not every solution is simple to implement or easy for people to use. What’s more, trying to use a host of standalone communication tools presents additional problems for IT teams and users.
“A good unified communications (UC) system takes the best features of each technology – IP phones, conferencing, video, digital document sharing, chat and mobility – and combines them in a single solution that enables individuals to collaborate seamlessly wherever they are and using whichever channel is the most convenient and effective,” said Gillant. “This makes meetings easier to set up and virtual interactions more natural, which increases productivity and greatly streamlines workflows.”
The overwhelming majority of local respondents – almost 75% – infrequently prepared an agenda ahead of the event. Hong Kongers were significantly less well organised than respondents in Singapore, where far more (42%) claimed that they always prepare an agenda before a meeting, and Australia, where the majority of people (54%) always prepare one.
“Meetings without an agenda are like road trips without GPS or a map – unless you are very lucky, you are going to spend ages going in circles and never get anywhere,” said Gillant.
According to Gillant, laying out an agenda and distributing it ahead of time is an easy way to boost meeting productivity. Even more effective is to use productivity tools, such as agenda planners, that are built into leading UC solutions. Agendas don’t need to be long, but they should outline the topics to be covered, the anticipated goals, required attendees, any materials needed, and a start and stop time.
When asked to rate how productive they think their meetings are on a scale of 1 to 4 (1 = not productive; 4 = very productive), Hong Kongers scored their sessions at 2.66 – the lowest among all the markets surveyed. Over a third (37%) of Hong Kong respondents felt their meetings were either only slightly productive or completely unproductive. Only 11% graded their meetings as very productive, compared with 26% in Australia and 29% in Singapore.
In addition, less than half (41%) of Hong Kongers admitted to fully participating in meetings, with nearly a third (30%) of them citing that they are routinely side-tracked by dealing with other work at the same time. Hong Kong workers also appear to be the most easily distracted by private matters, with 16% admitting to checking personal emails, social media or texting during in meetings.
“Many Hong Kong companies are losing a great deal of time to unproductive meetings, however there are plenty of opportunities to eliminate inefficiency,” said Gillant. “Easy, modern unified communications technology and thoughtful meeting preparation are the keys to building better, more productive meetings that all attendees will find valuable.”
Do you know more about this story? Contact us anonymously through this link.