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Scheduling costs five hours a week

Scheduling costs five hours a week

22 April, 2009 – London and Zurich - UK managers and administrative assistants burn an eighth of their working week arranging meetings and conference calls according to research released today.

Doodle, the leading Web 2.0 scheduling tool and author of the survey, believes workers could “reclaim Friday afternoon” and companies can save costs by working smarter when arranging meetings.
Doodle estimates that the time spent arranging meetings each year equates to £3,932* of an average manager’s salary and £1,886* of an administrative professional’s, illustrating the cost to business of ‘traditional’ ways of scheduling meetings.

On average, professionals spend five hours arranging times to hold seven meetings per week. UK managers spend more time than administrative staff arranging meetings. And yet one in every six meetings is rearranged, Doodle found.
With more than 4.3 million managers in the UK* this equates to a total annual economic cost to the UK of £16.3 billion per annum in spent managerial wages. The pan-European and US survey of 2,500 professionals found the most common ways to organise meetings are via classic calendar systems (32 per cent), email (31 per cent) and by phone (22 per cent).

With each having four to five participants, this helps explain why three quarters of all professionals spend almost five hours each week - more than half a working day - just arranging them, Doodle's CEO Michael Näf says.

“People are still sending endless calendar notes and emails to and fro to arrange business meetings. Because each meeting has between four to five attendees the 'reply all' email threads can spiral out of control, and we've proven here it's a big burden on business efficiency,” Näf said.

“We could take a half day off every Friday with the time saved on meeting arrangement by using simple online tools that do it much quicker and more reliable.  This problem contributes in part to the UK’s long working hours culture** which lost UK workers £26.9 billion in wages last year.”

Doodle is a simple-to-use, free online tool that helps organisations and individuals save time organising meetings by offering a transparent view of everyone’s preferred choices. It closes the gap between the main calendar systems on multiple platforms, including Microsoft Outlook and mobile platforms, and also the trusted paper agenda, Näf added.
Doodle found that face-to-face meetings account for just a quarter (25 per cent) of all business get-togethers, with conference calls (35 per cent) and web meetings (30 per cent) taking preference. Three-quarters of all meetings involve not just internal employees but external colleagues as well, typically scheduled without shared calendar systems.
The UK's meeting arrangement habits are largely reflected across European countries and the US, and typically managers and assistants arrange similar numbers of meetings. Only France appears to differ, with meetings typically being arranged more by secretarial staff than by managers. The French also have more meetings than other leading economies with 70 per cent of French respondents arranging more than seven meetings per week.
"The study suggests that while the ways of doing business have evolved, professionals tend to revert to email for everything - even for things that can be done more simply online," Näf continued.
The key findings from the survey:
·          UK employees organise seven meetings a week on average, with the mean length of each being two hours 45 minutes.  
·          Most meetings have at least four or five participants, meaning four- and five-way ‘reply-all’ email strings to arrange them – this is a lot of emails if firms don’t use online scheduling tools
·          Across Europe and the US administrative staff use calendar systems (34 per cent) more than managers (27 per cent). Meanwhile managers prefer email (34 per cent) to arrange meetings over administrative staff (30 per cent)
·          Managers typically need to rearrange more meetings than their assistants, with 69 per cent of managers needing to reschedule get-togethers compared to under half (46 per cent) of PAs
·          UK managers are arranging more meetings than personal assistants. With average salaries being higher the cost of time wasted between is even more costly to organisations’ bottom line
You can read the full report here:  
- Ends -
*Average salaries were calculated according to consultants PayScale UK operations manager – £31,451 per annum, office administrator £15,086, although the Chartered Management Institute's published figure is much higher at £47,055 average salary for UK managers. The CMI's latest published statistic for numbers of managers in the UK was 4.3 million managers counted in 2006 [Source: <> ]. Actual time spent organising meetings = 4.86 hours per week, rounded up to five hours. We regard eight hours as a standard working day, 40 hours for a typical working week.

** Five million UK employees worked extra hours for free in 2008, losing £26.9 billion in pay, according to the Trade Unions Congress, January 2009
About the Survey
2,500 administrative and management staff from UK, US, France, Germany and the Nordic region (500 from each) were questioned by email and online links in March 2009 by UK-based research company LMRM. You can download the full report from’s website –
About Doodle

Doodle makes it easy to find the right time for a group gathering or a meeting. With just a few clicks you can establish a “poll” – a tabular display of possible available time slots – invite participants and see clearly in a table which options best suit everyone. Doodle is a free web service, doesn’t require any registration and is available in 28 languages worldwide. The usability and the entrepreneurial achievements of Doodle have been awarded across the world: For example, the Mashable Open Web Awards 2008 “Bloggers’ Choice” and “People’s Choice”  (, and the Swiss ICT Award 2008 (
Doodle has more than 3 million unique clients with very strong growth in the UK. In Doodle’s home country, Switzerland, 10 per cent of the entire population use the service at least once a month, and this figure is also growing.
For more information please visit

UK Press Contacts

Hatch PR
Emily McDaid <>
+44 (0) 7748 633355
Chris Lee <>
+44 (0) 7833 781720

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