As workplace communications evolve, are most meetings a waste of time?

Is your organisation using communication methods that are either unpopular or on the edge of extinction? Are your meetings useful, or does your team zone out and watch TV?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor on

You might think that your organisation is up to the minute with technology, but look at how the IM generation is shaping the way that we work.

Millennials do things differently than their predecessors and their influence is having a marked impact on the work habits of their baby boomer and generation X counterparts.

Texting, IM, and social media are now becoming mainstream vehicles for workplace communications. Even where workplace collaboration is in place, virtual meetings often do not deliver the value intended.

The workplace needs to evolve to meet the needs of its staff.

According to a survey by workplace collaboration specialist Klaxoon, almost a quarter (23 percent) of Americans feel like most meetings are a waste of time, and almost half either daydreamed or watched TV during a virtual meeting.

As workplace communications evolve are most meetings a waste of time ZDNet
(Image: Klaxoon)

Millennials have officially taken over the workforce, becoming the largest generation working across American business. They do things differently. This is the generation that insists on real-time communication, not just in their personal lives.

Businesses have not managed to keep pace with the millennial's way of working, often hanging on to out of date technology.

InsideSales released a report earlier this year showing that many many people may be utilizing unpopular software at their place of work.

The report showed that although eclipsed by cell phone use, most office workers (54 percent) said they still use a landline phone every day at work, but only 6 percent said they do at home.

Since 2014, using text messaging for work has increased by 62 percent. Also 75 percent of people surveyed said they would respond to work-related text messages outside of work. It may even be the method of choice for executives.

If you want to get in touch with a baby boomer, try texting them as well. This group seems to like texting at work even more than millennials. Sixty-two percent recommend contacting them by text message, which is a third higher than millennials (47 percent).

And 81 percent of baby boomers say they're likely to respond to text messages, whereas only 68 percent of millennials would respond.

In a world where work communications bleed over well beyond 5 pm, unsurprisingly 75 percent of respondents said they were likely to respond to a text message at home for work-related topics.

Its study also shows that whilst apps like AIM and MSN are no longer popular, instant messaging applications such as Slack and Jabber are swiftly becoming indispensable in the office.

The report shows that daily usage of the technology at work has risen from 31 percent in 2014 to 41 percent today across all age groups.

Millennials are 35 percent more likely to use IM daily at work than baby boomers (42 percent compared to 31 percent respectively). However, only 35 percent of executives want to communicate via instant messaging.

Although LinkedIn is the most-used social media platform at work, it is not the most effective means of communication. Significantly more respondents would take a mobile phone call (86 percent) than respond to a LinkedIn message (54 percent).

If you want to get in touch with a CEO, it is not a good idea to use social media at all. Domo released its social CEO report and its findings show that half of new Fortune 500 CEOs are not digitally engaged, and they have no presence on social media channels.

The number of active social CEOs declined from 2015 to 2016, saying that they did not use social media, as they were too busy or could not capture and understand its ROI.

Regardless of the generation you're trying to reach, one thing is abundantly clear: If you want to virtually guarantee you will reach someone at work, your best bet is email. A whopping 93 percent of respondents say they are likely to respond to email.

And with all of the other options at use in your organisation, make sure you are actually getting the business results you need -- regardless of the medium used to communicate.


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