Workplace

1:1 meetings are eating your workweek

The calendar app Reclaim.ai found that the average professional now spends 21.5 hours a week in meetings.

Calendar with frequent meetings

Meetings now occupy more than half the workweek.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/ Protocol

Three meetings a day: Sounds quaint, doesn't it? In February 2020 — just before the COVID-19 pandemic — that's how the typical professional's calendar looked.

By last month, that number had swelled to five meetings per day, according to a new report from the "smart calendar" startup Reclaim.ai that looked at anonymized, aggregated calendar data from over 15,000 professionals.

"People are longing for that kind of connection, and they're longing for that kind of touchpoint with their coworkers," Reclaim.ai co-founder Henry Shapiro told Protocol. "But it doesn't change some of the physics of time and the physics of the work they need to get done."

Meetings now occupy more than half the workweek, with the average professional spending 21.5 hours a week in meetings. Before the pandemic, that number was just 14.2 hours a week.

One-on-ones are taking over the calendar

In particular, one-on-one meetings have been driving this pandemic meeting inflation, accounting for 79.6% of new meetings, Reclaim.ai found.

Last month, the average professional had 5.6 one-on-one meetings per week, up from 0.9 in February 2020. Every week, many of us now have 4.7 more one-on-ones than before the pandemic.

That's a more than 500% increase — leading one-on-ones to eat up 8.9% of the typical professional's calendar, according to Reclaim.ai's research.

Why are knowledge workers having so many more one-on-one meetings?

They can be a stand-in for the kinds of spontaneous check-ins that offices foster — which can take place while grabbing lunch together or meeting at the water cooler, Reclaim.ai co-founder Patrick Lightbody told Protocol. Those aren't easily replaced by scheduled meetings or instant messages.

"People are trying to recreate those [spontaneous interactions] in various ways, but some of the tooling that they have is fairly limited," Lightbody said. "People are dealing with a lot of beeps and knobs and various attention-seeking interruptions."

How to control one-on-ones

Some knowledge workers are doing more "five-minute calls" as opposed to scheduled one-on-ones, which typically last around 43 minutes, according to Lightbody.

"These unprompted, unscheduled, five- [or] 10-minute calls where you work through something and just casually catch up — that's helped a lot," Lightbody said.

Cutting out one-on-ones may have an outsized effect on shortening the workday, which grew from 7.5 hours in February 2020 to 8.9 hours in October 2021.

And Reclaim.ai has built a feature to automatically reschedule meetings that have been canceled. More than 42% of one-on-ones are rescheduled every week and 29.6% are canceled, its study found.

The feature, called Smart 1:1s, takes recurring meetings that would typically be scheduled weekly or biweekly and instead finds times at that approximate cadence — maybe every five days or eight days rather than strictly every week — that work for attendees.

For busy people, manually rescheduling meetings can lead to a "domino effect" of having to move obligations around on the calendar and wasting time finding a new slot that works for everyone, according to Shapiro.

"A big part of it is not just taking off the burden of scheduling and rescheduling," Shapiro said. "It's also getting ahead of your schedule."

Meetings could get even more out of control

But in the coming years, as companies transition to meeting in a hybrid workplace, Lightbody expects even more challenges when it comes to controlling meeting creep.

Lightbody has already been hearing reports of people who head into the office only to find the person they were set to meet with isn't there.

"It's like, 'Well, that was the worst of both worlds. It was like working from home, but I had to commute,'" Lightbody said. "I think there's going to be a lot of demands on coordination."

Fintech

Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

Keep Reading Show less
Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

Keep Reading Show less
FTA
The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.
Enterprise

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

Keep Reading Show less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

Keep Reading Show less
Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.

Enterprise

Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

Keep Reading Show less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Latest Stories
Bulletins