Meetings: the First Horseman of the Apocalypse

While browsing the Interweb for daily threat intelligence this morning*, I found an interesting research paper, “Meetings and More Meetings: The Relationship Between Meeting Load and the Daily Well-Being of Employees.” Anyone with some amount of seniority in IT is familiar with the concept of “death by meeting,” so I was excited to find scientific research (!) confirming that meetings are the soul-sucking creation of Satan.

Meetings are an integral part of organizational life; however, few empirical studies have systematically examined the phenomenon and its effects on employees. By likening work meetings to interruptions and daily hassles, the authors proposed that meeting load (i.e., frequency and time spent) can affect employee well-being. For a period of 1 week, participants maintained daily work diaries of their meetings as well as daily self-reports of their well-being. Using hierarchical linear modeling analyses, the authors found a significant positive relationship between number of meetings attended and daily fatigue as well as subjective workload (i.e., more meetings were associated with increased feelings of fatigue and workload).

No shit, Dick Tracy. Every morning I check my calendar with trepidation, wondering how much of my day will be wasted watching pointless Powerpoint presentations, the “jazz hands” of the modern workplace. How often will I be forced to feign attention as leadership drones on about strategy? Then I realized that civilization will not be destroyed by weapons of mass destruction or global warming, but with meetings. As T.S. Eliot said,

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

It seems appropriate to end with an xkcd comic on the topic.

Meeting from xkcd.com

*Who am I kidding, I was watching silly videos like “The Running of the Pugs.” I blame Adobe Flash, not just for being insecure, but as the harbinger of time-wasting.

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