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Employees having eight extra meetings a week with remote work

The data refutes arguments that working from home makes employees less engaged.

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Business man having virtual team meeting on video conference call using computer. Social distance worker working from home office talking to diverse colleagues in remote videoconference online chat.
(Ground Picture via Shutterstock)

By Pol Allingham via SWNS

Employees are having eight extra meetings a week and communicating more with their colleagues since working from home took hold, new research claimed.

Scientists discovered people working from home were actually "more engaged" with their colleagues than before the pandemic.

In a challenge to widespread concern that employees were disengaged by remote working, scientists discovered meetings happened 59 percent more frequently this year compared with 2020 - from five to eight meetings a week per employee.

Work patterns have become drastically more spontaneous, too - between 2020 and 2022, unscheduled one-on-one meetings leaped from 17 percent to 66 percent, the study found.

This change was almost solely due to unscheduled meetings increasing because scheduled meetings remained as common as before, the experts said.

University of Texas, Austin researchers also discovered time spent in remote meetings has shrunk by 25 percent, from 43 minutes in 2020 to 33 minutes in 2022.

Group numbers in each meeting dropped by half, reportedly primarily driven by more people setting up one-on-ones versus collectives - an average of 20 employees sat in each meeting pre-pandemic, which fell to 10 in 2022.

Metadata from all Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and WebEx meetings from 10 large global organizations across a variety of fields was gathered for the study.

Diverse company employees having online business conference video call on tv screen monitor in board meeting room. Videoconference presentation, global virtual group corporate training concept.
(Ground Picture via Shutterstock)

Andrew Brodsky, assistant professor of management at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, said the data refutes arguments that working from home makes employees less engaged.

Writing in Harvard Business Review, he said: “The combination of these findings presents an interesting picture: not that remote workers seem to be becoming less engaged, but rather—at least with respect to meetings—they are becoming more engaged with their colleagues.

“This data also suggests that remote interactions are shifting to more-closely mirror in-person interactions.

“Whereas there have been substantial concerns that employees are missing out on the casual and spontaneous rich interactions that happen in-person, these findings indicate that remote employees may be beginning to compensate for the loss of those interactions by increasingly having impromptu meetings remotely.”

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