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Survey: AI Tools Can Boost Productivity by Reducing Time Spent in Meetings

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Apr 10, 2024

Employees who use a generative artificial intelligence (AI) assistant spend less time in meetings, according to a recent survey, Business Insider reported.

Thirteen hundred workers who use Microsoft’s generative AI assistant, Copilot, were surveyed by the company, and 37 percent of those who used Copilot for 10 or more weeks  said they used it to attend fewer meetings, compared to 22 percent who used it between seven and 10 weeks and 18 percent who used it between three and six weeks.

Microsoft found that the average person saved 14 minutes a day, or nearly five hours each month by using the tool. It noted that the most efficient users saved 30 minutes a day, the equivalent of 10 hours a month. The company also found that 11 minutes of time savings is all it takes for most people to feel as though AI is useful. That's the key to getting a habit to take hold, it found.

Microsoft also found that that 11 weeks is “the breakthrough moment at which most people said that Copilot improves four key areas at work: productivity, work enjoyment, work-life balance and the ability to attend fewer meetings. Over 11 weeks, that 11 minutes a day adds up to 10 hours saved, or one whole work week each year,” the company concluded.

"Tell your people not to worry about taking notes or listening to the recording, and instead ask AI to recap the key points," Microsoft wrote in its blog post. "Executives can use it to summarize long documents or drawn-out email chains."

Many Americans think meetings can take a toll on their productivity, Business Insider reported. In a survey of 1,000 U.S. knowledge workers conducted in December 2023 and January by the software company Atlassian, in partnership with Wakefield Research, 73 percent of respondents said their meetings schedule makes it difficult to get their work done.

Spending too much time in meetings can have a significant effect on a company's bottom line, too. The average company "wasted" about $25,000 per employee by scheduling them for unnecessary meetings, according to a 2022 study by the software firm and Steven Rogelberg, a professor of organizational science at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.

"Organizations invest a significant amount of money in their employees, and thus, in the meetings they attend," wrote Rogelberg. "There is potential for massive cost-savings … by reducing unnecessary meeting attendance."

A 2023 survey of 648 sales professionals conducted by customer platform HubSpot found that some were saving over two hours a day by using AI for scheduling meetings, note-taking and data entry, Business Insider reported.

The ongoing Copilot Usage in the Workplace survey launched in September 2023. It surveys both Microsoft employees and early users of Copilot at other companies, mostly in North America and Europe. All users included in the analysis had been using Copilot for at least three weeks.