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The average work meeting is 20% shorter since Covid-19

Los Angeles Zoo's new meerkats warm themselves in the morning sun in their enclosure known as meerkat manor in on Thursday, March 15, 2018.
AP Photo/Richard Vogel
Good meeting, let’s break.
Sarah Todd
By Sarah Todd

Senior reporter, Quartz and Quartz at Work

The mass shift to remote work since the onset of Covid-19 has created plenty of problems for employees, from the rise of anxious micromanagers to aching backs from long hours working without ergonomic office chairs.

But there’s at least one bright spot: Data suggest that meetings may have actually changed for the better.

The length of the average meeting is down by 20%, according to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which measured how digital communications have changed since workers went on lockdown this year. And while the number of meetings the average person goes to per day is up 13%, the collective amount of time that the average person spends in meetings per day is nonetheless down by 12%. In sum: We may be attending more meetings in the Zoom era, but they seem to be running more efficiently.

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