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12% of office workers have slept in meetings, finds survey

Hundreds of office workers from across the UK have admitted to switching off, leaving early, and even falling asleep, during all-day meetings, according to a new report.

Turning Meetings Upside Down, a paper launched by Drayton Manor Park, is the result of a survey of 1,000 UK office workers who have attended an all-day meeting or training session. The results have found that over half of the respondents dread all-day meetings when one is put in their diaries, while 59% prefer to concentrate on their work rather than attend a training session.

Causing the negativity, according to the report, is the fact meetings have a strong sense of déjà-vu, with 44% experiencing the same format and agenda each time the meeting is held. Other problems with existing meeting structures including everyone needing to have their say (31%), too much being crammed on the agenda (30%) and the start time running late (28%).

The report also uncovers a real issue with attendees switching off, with more than half admitting to zoning out, while a quarter confessed to playing games or checking social media. Worryingly, 12% of the respondents confirmed they had fallen asleep, while 10 per cent have secretly listened to music.

The findings should be an alarming wake-up call for event organisers, as Melissa Penn, conference and events manager at Drayton Manor Park, explained: “Our survey results show that the businesses need to seriously think about the way it delivers meetings and training sessions. In a time where businesses are scrutinising all budgets, delivering effective meetings which people look forward to can ensure that no time is wasted when lots of talent is taken out of the office and invited to an all-day session.”

The survey also found that 82% of delegates agreed that the productivity of their meetings suffer once the afternoon hits. Only 22% of those surveyed confirmed they take part in energising team activities, something the report suggests can help attendees break out of the post-lunch slump.

The report provides advice and tips on how to realistically refresh and energise the mind, which highlight the benefits of utilising outdoor space and changing the usual snack selection to include grazing stations.

It is not all doom and gloom for meeting organisers, however, as 71% of the respondents said they would be more receptive to attending an all-day meeting if it was held off-site. Getting people out of the office can help boost productivity, sparking new and better thinking and helping to create unique experiences and team building opportunities.

Penn commented: “It is clear that the enthusiasm and motivation for meetings is flat at the moment and a change in format is required. We hope that our report will encourage event organisers to shake up their current meeting schedule and consider new methods to help re-energise attendees for the whole session.”