The Results Are In: American Workers Have 33 Million Meetings a Day

American Workers Have 33 Million Meetings a Day

Ask an employee of any company – large or small – what their biggest time sink is, and they will tell you how many meetings they have. In the US alone, there are billions of meetings a year. Yet more than a third of that meeting time is considered wasted by attendees. Given that level of impact on the workforce, it is surprisingly difficult to pin down how many meetings there actually are in the US every day. Unfortunately, the commonly quoted metrics on meetings are outdated. The most widely cited quantification of meetings was published by Michael Doyle and David Strauss over 40 years ago. Doyle and Strauss claimed that there were 11 million meetings a day, and that number has been published dozens of times without a rigorous evaluation of the growing workforce, virtualization of the workforce, and advent of the last 4 decades of technological and cultural progress. It is clear that we need an updated number but perhaps even more important is that we need a transparent methodology that will allow us to stay up to date.

The Approach

  • In order to begin to estimate the number of meetings held each day in the US, we need to first answer the following 4 questions:
  • Question 1: How many workers are there in the US?
  • Question 2: What percent of these workers are in jobs that regularly have meetings?
  • Question 3: What is the % of time on average that these workers spend in meetings?
  • Question 4: What is the de-duped number of daily meetings in the US (a meeting count overstates the number because each meeting by definition has multiple participants)?
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