Survey reveals UK companies losing millions per year on travel costs due to “wasted” meetings

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A study has revealed that UK companies are wasting millions of pounds per year sending workers around the world to meetings, many of which are deemed unnecessary.

The survey of 2000 employees, conducted by Sennheiser Communications, a global provider of Unified Communications solutions and premium headsets, revealed that almost two thirds of respondents have to travel considerable distances to meetings even though 65% admit that they've had a wasted trip.

The furthest distance on average that respondents had to travel was 218 miles. 53% travel over 100 miles for a meeting, and a further 10% have jetted over 500 miles.

Despite the considerable time and expense involved, nearly half think their company wastes money on train tickets and flights, with 54% saying that a Skype call would suffice.

Yet the average UK worker makes less than three conference calls or video calls per week, with 61% making two or less, a precedent that's costing unnecessary amounts of money, not to mention the environmental impact of travelling.

"We're living in a time when video conferencing and Skype calls are as simple as picking up a mobile and putting on a headset, yet many companies still seem reluctant to take full advantage of the benefits this technology can offer" said Charlotte Waterworth, Marketing Manager, Sennheiser Communications.

"Effectively managing meetings is no easy task, but modern advances in communication mean that there are high-quality, cost-effective alternatives available that can make an immediate impact."

It would seem that keeping a sharper eye on meeting management would be a step forwards. A brutally honest 53% admit to sneakily arranging meetings to spend longer out of the office, and over half say that the most common reason for attending a meeting is simply because it's scheduled even though there's nothing important to discuss.

And on their return to the office 37% admit to having "fiddled" expenses as a way to squeeze a bit more value from a trip, with 10% justifying their actions by saying "everyone does it".

Coupled with the fact that just 7% say that all of the face to face meetings they attend are necessary, and 60% say they believe their boss often holds meetings just for the sake of it, it seems as though there are a number of opportunities for improving workplace efficiency.

"When you factor in unnecessary expenses and time out of the office, effective meeting management is an adjustment many struggling businesses can look into quite easily to help improve their bottom line" Waterworth concluded.

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