If you poll your workers, they might name meetings and unnecessary interruptions as the biggest culprits.
A poll of 613 employees found that 27 percent judged meetings that last too long as the No. 1 waste of time on the job. Close behind, at 26 percent, was unnecessary interruptions.
Liz Hughes, executive director of OfficeTeam, a staffing service for highly skilled professionals which conducted the survey, points out several red flags that might indicate a mismanaged meeting.
* No meeting leader. If no one is in charge of keeping the meeting on track, it can go into overtime.
* Lack of objective. Meetings should have a distinct purpose.
* Lengthy invite list. Too many people often means that the person who called the meeting didn't want to exclude anyone, not because everyone's participation is required.
* It's part of the routine. Regularly scheduled meetings can lose their value over time.
* Determine if agenda items pertain to everyone. Says Hughes: "Lean staffing levels within many of today's companies have placed increased pressure on employees to manage their time effectively. Unproductive meetings and needless interruptions can cause workers to get behind or log more hours than necessary."