2020 State of Online Meetings Report™

US employee insights on online meeting experience.


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With online meetings the new norm. How is it impacting the workforce?

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Key Findings

Technology to support online meetings is widely used.

  • Respondents indicated that 78% of their company meetings within the last 30 days were conducted via an online meeting platform (such as Zoom or WebEx).
  • More than half of respondents indicated they used up to three different meeting platforms within the last month.

To achieve results, you must prepare.

  • Intended meeting goals were achieved 93% of the time when a clear meeting agenda was provided. Goal obtainment quickly dropped to 46% when agendas were only provided half the time.
  • Sending Desired Outcome statements in advance of a meeting led to even higher goal achievement at 95%.

Employees are experiencing meeting overload.

  • The high frequency of meetings erodes the ability for employees to get work done and be engaged.
  • Without clear ground rules, employees often multi-task during meetings.

Employees crave process and structure.

  • Unfocused conversations and lack of structure leads to results not being achieved. Sometimes flat-out chaos emerges.

Capturing and sending key ideas and action items propels work forward.

  • The importance of someone capturing key ideas and actions and then distributing them to the group after the meeting cannot be underestimated.
  • This action is closely correlated with higher levels of participant understanding and the ultimate completion of action items within an agreed upon timeframe.

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"We have too many meetings, without clarity on the decision making. Our meeting process is not clear."

To Achieve Results, You Must Prepare

Most corporate workers spend years (sometimes a decade or more) within intense educational settings to learn technical content related to their career aspirations. Core subjects such as mathematics, history, economics, science, and foreign language are often coupled with learning and thinking skills such as critical thinking, communication, and creativity. However, within all this education the core process of how to run an effective meeting is often glossed over with limited focus.

Within our State of Online Meeting™ survey, we asked respondents to reveal how often certain process steps took place within the last 30 days of online meetings they experienced at their company:

  • The frequency of clear meeting agendas had a large deviation of use: 52% said they usually had a clear agenda with 11% reporting they always had a clear agenda. 10% of respondents seldom or never had a clear agenda in company meetings.
  • Specific statements pertaining to planning and communication of the meeting outcomes had similar distribution: 11% of respondents said Desired Outcomes were always sent in advance; 29% of respondents seldom or never received Desired Outcomes.
  • Meeting attendance of the right people in the meeting remains a perennial issue: 72% of respondents said that the right people always or usually attended meetings. 26% reported the right people attended half the time or less.

What does this data reveal? By itself, not much besides the perception that some companies appear more organized versus others. However, when comparing this data against the level of meeting effectiveness and achievement of intended goals, important insights emerge.


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Interested in improving your online meetings?

IA has been working with some of the world's leading organizations to improve how they collaborate in meetings and beyond. Fill out the form and let us know the challenge you're facing. We'll be in touch soon.