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Meeting Insights: Making Good Use of Collaboration Data

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Image: Dzianis Apolka - Alamy Stock Photo
As expected, the delivery of data-driven insights to employees and their managers based on communications and collaboration activities is a rising trend this year. The primary goal around this trend is to enable informed decision-making about how to address workforce pain points negatively affecting employee experience.
I think about this in the context of meetings data Microsoft’s Jared Spataro, CVP Modern Work, shared in a blog post published this week. The average Microsoft Teams user spends 252% more time in meetings than they did in March 2020, with a 28% growth of after-hours work and 14% growth in weekend work, he reported. Meantime, Microsoft’s global work trends research also shows that people are taking control of their days. For example, they are taking fewer meetings at lunch, Spataro wrote.
But, as he continued, “… for flexible work to be sustainable, managers will need to create new norms and set boundaries to guard against a 24/7 workday.”
It’s in this creating of norms and setting of boundaries that communications and collaboration insights come into play. Previously on WorkSpace Connect, I’ve written how Microsoft provides data-driven guidance in its Viva Insights application, as does Webex (Cisco). And just last week, I learned of another communications and collaboration vendor, Mitel, planning to do the same: “We want to encourage our customers to make business decisions based on facts and data, not on gut feel or intuition like they have in the past,” shared Jon Braganza, with Mitel Labs, in a video demo shared as part of a recent analyst day.
Toward that end, Mitel plans on delivering insights from calls, meetings, and chats for trends analysis, as well as personalized insights for an individual’s use. On a personal level, an employee could view trends across meetings, chats, and calls, with visibility such as average meeting time; meeting, chat, and call activity per day; and top collaborators.
At a company level, data points such as these would be available in a curated dashboard providing meetings insights:
- Average attendees per meeting
- Total meeting attendees
- Number of meetings per hour and per day
- Average and total meeting duration
- Meeting trends over a specified time
Via such a dashboard, business leaders will have a set of data that helps them assess whether employees are meeting too frequently and therefore unable to allot enough time for heads-down productive work. Conversely, the data would also show if employees aren’t meeting enough, and thus potentially missing out on collaborative work necessary to advance projects or fuel innovation.
Having insight into communications and collaboration activities is a good start, but it will not be an immediate cure-all for fixing the meeting blight that has taken hold during the pandemic. Providing insight should go hand in hand with creating a better in-meeting experience, without which employees may find themselves feeling no less fatigued even if they have fewer meetings to attend by company policy.
Toward that end, communications and collaboration app providers aim to deliver continuous improvements. One that I particularly like comes from Microsoft; it’s a newly introduced RSVP capability that allows users to indicate whether they’ll be attending a meeting in person or remotely when accepting an Outlook invite. After all, who doesn’t hate going into the office expressly because of a meeting only to discover, once gathered, that most other attendees are joining virtually?