Pandemic has made meetings more inclusive and efficient, study says

Empty boardroom
With meetings take place on Zoom rather than in boardrooms, they have grown more efficient and inclusive, a survey of business leaders found.
(Daniel Thistlethwaite / Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)

The pandemic has made workplace meetings more inclusive and efficient, according to a survey of more than 600 business leaders across Singapore, Australia and Japan.

In Singapore, more than half of C-suite executives who responded said they tried to open up conversations to a wider group of staff, the analysis from Tableau Software Inc. and YouGov showed. The loss of face-to-face interactions was a concern for two-thirds of executives in Australia, and leaders in Japan ages 44 and younger said they had seen an improvement in workplace conversations, according to the study.

Decision making got faster during the pandemic, said JY Pook, senior vice president for Asia Pacific and Japan at Tableau, a data visualization software firm.


“I was just saying yesterday to my colleagues in Seattle, we used to go there for three-day meetings and tend to run through lunch and tea and dinners, and we’d still be having conversations, without having come to a decision or outcome,” Pook said in an interview. “Dialing in remotely and virtually, the meetings are absolutely more productive — nobody wants to hang around a Zoom call for much longer than they need to.”

Conducted between Aug. 6 and Aug. 17, the survey spanned industries including retail, finance, manufacturing and telecommunications. It also found that older business leaders in Japan felt more disconnected from their employees, and 58% of respondents said a lack of nonverbal communications made it harder to read others during discussions.

Bloomberg writer Nabila Ahmed contributed to this report.