Meetings, in one form or another, now form an indispensable part of any working environment. On average, executives are reported to spend nearly 23 hours a week in meetings, up from less than 10 in the 1960s. Maximising – and indeed reducing – meeting time should therefore be seen as a fundamental aspect for any manager to consider.

To date, organisations have struggled to find good solutions. In the US alone, it is estimated that $37 billion is lost every year to unproductive meetings. Wasted meeting time is also cited as a key reason for employee dissatisfaction, stress and fatigue. So, what can be done to boost meeting productivity?

A common suggestion is the ban of technology (laptops and phones) in meetings. Studies have shown that the physical process of writing notes down, as opposed to typing, improves the memory retention and creative-thinking of the note-taker. More obviously, the use of technology can not only be distracting to the user but also to those around them, who can be put off by the clicking and typing next to them.

Despite this, there are also times when an online presence can be useful – for example, a quick fact-check, research assignment or scout for inspiration. In order to not rule this out, consider having one laptop present at the meeting that can be used as a team laptop during the session (ideally visible to all throughout), dedicated solely to joint purposes.

So next time you have a meeting, consider how to utilise the benefits of a technology-free environment without having to sacrifice all of its advantages. A true win-win.

We are the sports practice of global advisory firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe. We provide strategy and communication advice for sports clients around the world. For more information: