Time is Money – Tele/Presence is All About Time – How Information Workers Spend Their Time
By Thomas B. Cross – CEO TECHtionary.com http://www.techtionary.com
For more on this topic, please visit http://telepresenceforum.org
One major study discovered that the average white-collar worker spends over 50 percent of his or her time “communicating,” a category that includes attending meetings, reporting on them, and talking on the telephone. Executives spend an average of 75 to 80 percent of their time communicating. According to an AT&T study, executives spend an average of 94 percent of their time in communication-related activity. Oral communication accounts for 69 percent of executives’ time, with 53 spent in face-to-face meetings and 16 percent on the telephone. Most studies, in fact, reveal that almost half of the typical manager’s time is spent in meetings.
Sharing information 35%
Solving conflicts 20%
Providing status 16%
Presenting reports 11%
Information seeking 49%
Giving information to keep people 48%
in the picture
Problem solving 48%
Discussion of ideas 26%
Delegation of work 12%
Forming impressions of others 9%
Policy decision making 8%
Presentation of a report 8%
Inspection of a fixed object 7%
Disciplinary interview 1%
One European study found that about half of the business meetings studied were for information exchange and problem solving. In those situations in which factual information is being exchanged in order to solve a problem, studies show that only about 50% of the person’s time is actually spent communicating—sending or receiving information. Searching for information, making notes, and shuffling papers are the activities that take up the rest of the time. If the situation is one of negotiation or conflict requiring an exchange of opinions and argumentation, the person spends as much as 75 percent of his or her time actually communicating. Nonetheless, other non-communicating activities, such as information retrieval and document reading, still make up 25 percent of the person’s time.
Access to information and better use of time are factors that can significantly improve a manager’s productivity. When managers have to spend approximately half of their time away from their desks in meetings that are ill-organized and time-consuming, this affects their productivity. Important meetings, on the other hand, must often be delayed due to the manager’s busy schedule. The delay between the need to meet and the actual meeting is typically about one week and often as much as two weeks. Delayed decisions and missed opportunities that result can significantly affect the productivity of the entire organization.
Teleconferencing can improve dramatically the management of time, meetings, and information. Teleconferencing allows easier and quicker access to information. It enables the executive to reduce information float, and thus financial float, as well as to be more in control of the information process. A positive impact on the work environment and “management velocity,” the speed and effectiveness with which problems are resolved and decisions implemented—can be brought about with teleconferencing.
Various studies have identified the percentage of meetings in which face-to-face contact can be successfully substituted with teleconferencing. One study reported that 25 percent of meetings can be substituted with teleconferencing. Another study found that 40 to 45 percent of meetings can be substituted effectively by audio and visual teleconferencing. Eight to 10 percent of meetings, they found, required video capabilities to be substitutable. Another study concluded that 60 percent of communications do not require face-to-face meetings and can be handled by voice communication only.
Another study found that at least 40 percent of today’s fly-in business conferences could be held by teleconference. AT&T’s study concluded that 50 percent of travel meetings were substitutable with teleconferencing and, of these, 80 percent can be held by audio and visual means.