The rise of the sleep-in meeting

New research today analysing the anatomy of the modern meeting reveals that a quarter (24 per cent) of Brits admit to falling asleep during meetings.

The findings from digital print and design company MOO, who conducted the study, found that once we’re settled for a meeting our attention spans cause issues, with 57 per cent of designers confessing to falling asleep in a meeting, and men (29 per cent) being more likely than women (19 per cent) to fall asleep during meetings.

Even when we do manage to stay awake, a host of other issues arise with more than half of Brits admitting to daydreaming (55 per cent) in meetings. We’re also a nation of poor time keepers, with almost half (49 per cent) spending up to ten minutes trying to find a meeting room, and the same amount spending between five and 15 minutes waiting for other attendees to arrive or dial-in.

Choosing where to sit also posed problems for some professionals with 38 per cent claiming to spend at least five minutes of their one-hour meeting considering the best position. Staying true to British stereotypes, a third (34 per cent) also said they can spend up to ten minutes discussing and adjusting the temperature of a meeting room before they are ready to start.

The number of distractions in meetings has also increased with nine per cent admitting to spending between 10 and 20 minutes checking their phone for personal messages, and the same amount not being able to switch off from their work emails during an hour-long meeting.

The number of meetings we’re expected to attend on a daily basis also presents challenges to productivity, with 63 per cent of Brits attending at least one meeting a day and a third (36 per cent) attending between two and four.

And while ten per cent admit to spending between nine and 14 hours per week in meetings, this varies wildly across professions. Those working in human resources spend an average of six hours of their working week in meetings, while retail, catering and leisure workers spend almost half (3.6 hours) this amount of time.

The self-employed suffer the most when it comes to time lost to meetings, spending an average of more than five hours per week on them in comparison to smaller companies* who only spend 2.3 hours of their typical working week in meetings.

“We love meetings, but only when they’re run brilliantly,” said a MOO spokesperson. “We hope these findings will encourage everyone to work smarter when it comes to getting the most out of meetings.”


The top five reasons for time wasting during a meeting include:

  1. Waiting for people to arrive (55 per cent)
  2. Small talk  (14 per cent)
  3. Setting up technology (11 per cent)
  4. Locating the meeting room (six per cent)
  5. Introductions (three per cent)