Reclaim.ai Report Reveals Meeting Hours Increased 25.3%, Leading to 13.2% Longer Workdays

The company launches Smart 1:1 Meetings, a new feature to help combat digital burnout as a result of longer workdays, more meetings, and increased rescheduling & cancellation rates

Reclaim.ai, an intelligent productivity and time blocking app for Google Calendar used by over 6,000 companies worldwide, today released a free productivity trends report that tangibly reveals the phenomenon of longer work days and increased meeting load in the wake of remote workplaces, and the new challenges it poses to scheduling, time management, and productivity.

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“It’s clear from the data — and from talking to thousands of our users over the past two years — that coworkers are striving to stay connected and engaged across remote organizations”

The report reveals that busy professionals are spending 25.3% more time in meetings compared to February 2020, and 308.8% more time in one-on-one meetings specifically. The report is released in conjunction with Smart 1:1s, Reclaim’s newest feature that automates scheduling for one-on-one meetings, and is the first in a series of industry reports that will analyze workplace productivity and time management trends.

Reclaim.ai built the trend report by sampling aggregated and anonymized calendar data as well as survey responses across over 15,000 professionals from a variety of job roles and industries between February 2020 and October 2021. It additionally found that the length of the average workday increased among busy professionals by 13.2%, from 8.95 hours to 10.13 hours. It concludes that while asynchronous collaboration and communication is gaining steam within remote environments, busy professionals are struggling with more meetings, fewer opportunities to reschedule them, and days that start earlier and end later.

One-on-one meetings were found to be a key driver for the overall increase in meetings and longer workdays. Weekly one-on-ones increased to 5.9 hours, 17.8% of the average meeting load, compared to 1.4 hours, or 5.5% in February 2020, a 226.3% increase as a percentage of weekly meetings. Moreover, one-on-one meetings were rescheduled at a rate of 42.4%, and cancelled 29.6% of the time. This is an indication that busy professionals are running out of time during the workweek to reschedule their one-on-one meetings and often have to skip them.

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Key findings from the report include:

  • Busy professionals are working longer days: the average workday went from 8.95 hours to 10.13 hours for those with more than 15 meetings a week, an increase of 13.2% between February 2020 and October 2021.
  • Even less busy professionals are working longer: those who had fewer than 15 meetings a week saw their average workday go from 7.52 hours to 8.92 hours, an increase of 18.6%.
  • Meeting load increased across the board: the average busy professional is spending an additional 6.7 hours in meetings each week, or 65.0% of their entire workweek, jumping from 26.3 hours in February 2020 to 32.9 hours in October 2021, a 25.3% increase in weekly meeting time.
  • One-on-ones as a share of meetings more than tripled: more than any other factor, time in one-on-one meetings grew 308.8% from 1.4 hours to 5.9 hours a week, once just 5.5% of busy professionals’ total time in meetings, now accounting for 17.8%.
  • Duration of meetings decreased, but there are more of them: meetings were 9.1% shorter, and one-on-ones were 4.8% shorter, even as the average count of meetings increased from 28.5 to 39.9, and as one-on-ones grew from 2.0 to 8.6. This is an indication that busy professionals are struggling to fit more into a workweek.
  • People can’t keep up with the increase in meetings: professionals are rescheduling 42.4% of their one-on-one meetings, and cancelling 29.6% every week to try to keep up with the increased meeting demands.

The report found that workdays are getting longer, meeting load is increasing, and scheduling is only becoming more complex in remote workplaces. Years before the emergence of these new challenges, the Reclaim team was already building a tool that empowered busy professionals to save up to 40% of their workweek through smart time blocking/smart calendar automations for their personal and professional needs.

“It’s clear from the data — and from talking to thousands of our users over the past two years — that coworkers are striving to stay connected and engaged across remote organizations,” says Patrick Lightbody, CEO and co-founder of Reclaim.ai. “This has only made it harder for people to be proactive about their time, especially when their schedule changes, which it’s nearly guaranteed to do multiple times per day. While moving events around on the calendar might seem like a simple task in the moment, it has a wide array of downstream impacts on productivity, employee happiness, and retention. We envision a future where busy professionals and entire organizations can spend more time focused on their priorities across life and work, and a lot less time tinkering with calendars trying to make the schedule reflect their needs.”

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