UK board meetings neglect digital tools, research reveals

Senior business executives still neglect to use digital tools when planning their meetings, new research reveals.

UK boards are not utilising digital tools in meetings, with 59 per cent admitting that minutes are still handwritten manually during a meeting and then circulated once typed out.

The research, conducted by TLF Research for technology firm eShare, also reveals an overwhelming reliance on email for sharing agendas and other meeting information.

Almost three quarters of respondents say they receive a meeting agenda via email, while 70 per cent say that they just reply to that email should they want to change the agenda in any way.

CEO of eShare Alister Esam thinks that while many businesses talk about digital tool transformation, when it comes to meetings, a great number still rely on old technology.

He says, ‘We are all aware how annoying, intrusive and unproductive email can be, and this is even more so when there are lots of unnecessary emails about meeting agendas flying about.

‘There are many smarter options for meetings that are more collaborative and efficient and it is strange that many board meetings are still so old fashioned.’

Digital tools can make planning easier

Only two per cent of executives say they use bespoke meeting management software for sharing meeting agendas and information. Around 7 per cent are still using paper to share meeting agendas.

Once documents had been shared for a meeting, 58 per cent of respondents say it was down to the attendee to arrive at the meeting with the correct information, and 4 percent admit they brought printed materials for attendees to meetings.

One in 20 could access materials via SharePoint, Office 365 or a shared folder.

Esam says, ‘Sharing information ahead of a board meeting should be simple, and should allow the attendee to easily bring the correct information on a tablet or mobile device of their own choosing.

‘Many people use a tablet or other digital tools in business in 2016 and using them for this purpose makes it easier to annotate documents, share content and ensure that everyone has the right documents in front of them for the meeting.’

The research suggests that board members are open to more innovative ways of approaching the meeting process.

Asked about features they would like to help improve their participation and productivity around meetings, reducing the email trail surrounding meetings easily shared information and access to the relevant information are among the top responses.

Esam concludes, ‘Board members are busy enough without worrying about access to the right information or whether they can or cannot amend a document ahead of a meeting.

‘Digital technology has impacted almost every other area of business and it’s high time that it was allowed to do so with meetings.’

Further reading on company meetings

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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