Even before he took the oath of office, New York City ’s new Mayor, Bill de Blasio, was raising hackles around town: He runs chronically late. A mock Twitter account set up to track his arrival record at press conferences, @HowlatewasBdB, won more than a few followers before being closed.
But NYC reporters aren’t the only ones annoyed by waiting around for leaders who are tardy to their own meetings: Nearly 60 percent of all business meetings are delayed; more than half of participants admit to being less than punctual; and CEOs, CTOs, and company founders are the worst offenders, according to a recent “State of the Modern Meeting” report.
Blue Jeans Network, a provider of cloud-based video collaboration services, says it produces the semi-annual survey and report about meeting trends “because most professionals claim to spend half of every business day in meetings.” The company says its research demonstrates how technology is reshaping business meetings worldwide.
To be sure, face-to-face meetings aren’t going away: In a November Instant.ly survey of 391 business decision makers, the vast majority of respondents—94 percent—said face-to-face communications improve business relationships; 71 percent attributed a lost deal to a lack of face-to-face interaction.
But more and more, meeting face-to-face doesn’t equate to being in the same place. The use of cloud-based video conferencing is exploding and, compared to traditional video conferencing, which requires hardware such as expensive cameras and electronics, saves 70 working days a year, according to Blue Jeans Network. One-third of all meetings include one or more attendees participating from a mobile device, and the company’s research shows that that most meeting-goers connect to video meetings using a web browser. Use of its own cloud-based service is up nearly 400 percent in the last year, Blue Jeans says.
The five most common business-use cases for “video-centric collaboration,” according to Blue Jeans, include:
1. Team meetings, especially for geographically distributed organizations.
2. Sales and Marketing – for both customer presentations and internal reviews.
3. HR for both recruiting and training.
4. Executive meetings and board meetings.
5. International meetings with partners, vendors and employees to reduce travel time and expense.
“If an in-person meeting is not an option, more than half of business professionals prefer a video meeting over an audio-only meeting,” says Stu Aaron, chief commercial officer at Blue Jeans Network. “This new way to collaborate means that bad weather, budget cuts, holidays, and a geographically scattered team are no longer threats to business productivity.”
While Blue Jeans also claims that businesses’ use of its technology saved $2.1 billion miles of travel and $1.3 billion in travel-related costs in the second half of 2013, one obvious drawback to mobile meetings is that they extend the workday. Mobile meeting traffic spikes in the evening and early morning, with three times as many people joining meetings via mobile at 6 pm than at 5 pm, and two times as many at 7 am versus 8 am, according to Blue Jeans.
On the other hand, thanks to such flexibility, lunch-hour and Saturday morning meetings are a waning trend. Blue Jeans reports a 30 percent decline in weekend meetings in the past six months, and a 20 percent decline in meetings from noon to 1 pm.
Also good news for members of the work-from-home set who dread having to “clean up” for video meetings with clients and colleagues: Blue Jeans’ research shows that meeting organizers are less frequently imposing audio, video, or web conferences on their colleagues; instead, they are choosing converged conferencing solutions that let attendees choose how to join. Blue Jeans says 39 percent of video-centric meetings also have at least one audio-only participant, up from 35 percent in June.
For everyone about to head back to work after the holidays, here’s the bad news from Blue Jeans Network: their research shows that meeting hours spike 118 percent the day after a holiday. And things only get busier in February, when 25 percent more meetings take place than any other month.