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Published: 2 month

Two thirds of workers consider 1-2 meetings a week a waste of time

Hungary's first nationally representative productivity survey sought to find out, among other things, what factors hinder the daily work of Hungarian white-collar workers that can lead to burnout. These factors include whether work is well organised, how much time is wasted in unnecessary meetings, how good ideas find their way into the company, and how effective the flow of information within the company is and how the employee can be involved in it.

Felesleges meetingek keserítik meg a hazai irodai dolgozók életét-

These are some of the questions answered by Hungary's first nationally representative productivity survey, the Great Productivity Survey, in which 1,000 white-collar workers were asked how effective they perceive their own work and company operations to be. The online survey was conducted by META-INF in partnership with market researcher NRC.



Why this meeting? An email would have been enough!



"This meeting could have been an e-mail" - the phrase that has become a catchphrase in office culture expressively describes one of the most widespread corporate phenomena: unnecessary meetings and discussions. Nearly two-thirds of respondents sigh like this at least once or twice a week, but 12 percent would prefer to replace 3-4 meetings a week with email.



In this area, the level of frustration is not independent of company size: half of respondents in companies with fewer than 50 employees never felt this way, while two-thirds of those with more than 50 employees consider at least 1-2 meetings a week a waste of time. Those working in IT development and programming were the least likely to complain about unnecessary meetings, and managers, who traditionally work under constant time pressure, were the most likely to complain.



The construction industry leads the race for unnecessary meetings, with 9 out of 10 people experiencing unnecessary meetings every week, while agriculture is in the outright majority, with all finding face-to-face meetings irreplaceable.



"Face-to-face meetings can in some cases have a significant impact on the life of a company, but in many places a kind of tradition-based automatism dictates that meetings should be held even when they are not needed," said Attila Gáspár, co-CEO of META-INF. \"There used to be time for less important meetings, but today we do our colleagues a favour by sparing them from them. Not only do we have the familiar online tools, but also remote collaboration platforms where we can work together asynchronously rather than in constant meetings."



What burns everyone out: not having the document



The natural flow of work is not only hampered by time-consuming meetings, but also by not having the information you need at hand.



Two-thirds of respondents spend 0.5-2 hours a week, and one in 20 spend 2-3 hours a week, looking for unsaved or poorly organised documents, emails and material containing important information that they urgently need. Surprisingly, the worst situation is found in companies with more than 500 employees, where one would assume that professional document management systems are available to employees.



"Time lost is only a small part of the damage caused by poorly saved documents, the real problem is losing the momentum and flow with which we do our work. We often underestimate the importance of this, but it is important to do something about it, not only for the productivity of the company, but also for the wellbeing of colleagues. That's what systems and knowledge bases developed for document management are good for: they free us from time- and energy-consuming tasks and help us to concentrate on creative and meaningful work" - said Attila Gáspár.



Outstanding messages, ideas stuck in a drawer

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Internal communication barriers are also a major problem for workers. Almost a fifth of Hungarian white-collar workers feel they are missing out on the corporate information cycle and are not informed about important events in a timely manner. 18% are dissatisfied with the quality and speed of communication between departments, and 20% simply do not have remote access to the information they need to do their job. All this does not paint a good picture of how companies that have adopted hybrid working post-Covid work.



A problem that goes straight to business competitiveness is that the survey found that a good number of Hungarian firms do not have the right platforms to channel new ideas and innovations from the bottom up. 19 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement that if someone has a good idea in the company, it is easy to find a way to implement it, while 31 percent were neutral.



"It's not only a loss for the business if ideas are left in a drawer, but it's also detrimental to employee motivation. And in the long run, this can lead to a decline in employee performance and engagement. Employees are more loyal in organisations where they feel they can contribute to the development and growth of the company. This creates a self-generating process in a good sense: in organisations where the incorporation of ideas from below is encouraged, employees are more open to innovation, they cope with change more easily, and this increases the competitiveness of the company in the long run,\" said Annabella Ádám, work and organisational psychologist at BeBalanced Psychology Point.



The situation is not helped by the fact that 56 percent of respondents admit that they spend at least 10 percent of their working time doing work that could be done by a less experienced colleague with lower qualifications. More than a quarter of this group spend at least 40% of their working time doing work that is not suited to their skills and qualifications. Women, people under 40, people working in companies with more than 500 employees, and people working in health, public administration, retail and agriculture, among others, are worse off than average.

Women and young people under 40 are also worse off than average.

"All of the factors examined in the research increase the risk of burnout, but which workers are more vulnerable to which factors varies from individual to individual. If your organisation wants to maintain and increase wellbeing and engagement at work, it is worth reviewing which of these factors can be remedied and which areas need to change. If a factor cannot be eliminated due to an external influence - for example, a customer insisting on frequent meetings - the organisation can still indirectly support its employees through internal training or development to enable them to be resilient to stress and not feel vulnerable or helpless," concludes Annabella Ádám.



"It is very important that the way teams work is well defined. This includes the consistent use of platforms for working, well-functioning communication and decision-making processes, and clarification of the individual responsibilities and competences of team members. Together, talented colleagues, effective tools and well-structured teamwork can ensure higher productivity, a better workplace atmosphere and increased mental well-being among office workers in Hungary," added Attila Gáspár.



No more email deluge after holidays - how AI helps you pick up the thread again- read our previous article!



photo: freepik


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