Interaction Associates, a pioneer in creative problem-solving, collaborative leadership, and group facilitation, has released its comprehensive study on the state of online meetings in 2020.

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The recent pandemic necessitated a rapid transition to remote work, requiring companies and employees to rethink their communication and collaboration methodologies in real-time. Staying connected from home is a real challenge, and Zoom fatigue, overscheduling, and unproductive meetings are consuming precious time and resources. For many, the result is a deluge of digital meetings that neither achieve critical objectives nor support productivity metrics.

Now that the future of work is increasingly defined by hybrid teams needing to connect across time and space, organizations must update their meeting best practices.

The 2020 State of Online Meetings Report™ provides insights into employee experiences within company meetings. Designed to be wide-ranging and actionable, the report gives business leaders the insights necessary to optimize collaboration, communication, and interaction at every level.

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The report revealed several important findings, including:

  • Many online meetings are a waste of time. 42% of respondents indicated that their online meetings were seldom or never effective. Only 13% of respondents said their online meetings always achieved intended goals.
  • Meeting attendance matters. 72% of respondents said that the right people always or usually attended meetings. 26% reported the right people attended half the time or less.
  • Preparing a meeting agenda improves outcomes. Within situations where meetings always had a clear meeting agenda, the intended goals of the meeting were usually and always achieved 93% of the time.
  • Employees are experiencing meeting overload. Employees generally want to contribute to the success and mission of their organization but the high frequency of meetings erodes the ability for employees to get work done.
  • People crave process and structure. For a meeting to be effective, it needs someone to facilitate – or guide – the conversation. Only 38% of respondents indicated that someone alway facilitated a meeting within their organization.

The report confirms what many people intuitively understand: that to be effective in the year ahead, organizations need to train their teams on how to tame the online meeting monster.

“Many teams don’t achieve optimal results because they don’t evaluate their process,” remarked Barry Rosen, Chief Executive Officer at Interaction Associates. “The solution lies in developing a better approach that empowers people to participate, provides a framework on your desired outcomes, and achieves meaningful understanding and outcomes.”

Interaction Associates is helping companies excel in this regard, creating more intentional and effective organizations by optimizing online meetings. Describing an IA program’s impact, one graduate wrote, “When there are too many meetings, or rehashing the same topics, these tools provide another way to run meetings more efficiently and effectively with a solid objective in mind.”

Staying connected when working from home is a significant challenge for today’s organizations, but it’s one that demands a solution as hybrid teams will dominate the business landscape in the months and years ahead.

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