Flaws in Microsoft Outlook are partly behind staff wasting time on idle gossip in unnecessary meetings, according to Jabra, which has lobbied the firm's boss Satya Nadella to tweak the product.
Jabra's senior vice president Holger Reisinger published an open letter to Nadella this morning, in which he claims Outlook is facilitating "meeting madness".
"As you know, one of the biggest sources of lost productivity in today's workplace is the proliferation of unnecessary meetings," he said.
"The fact is, too many companies worldwide suffer from a meeting culture. That's a corporate environment where workers instinctively book a meeting anytime they need to solve a problem - usually with little thought to alternative ways of resolving the issue. It's a human behaviour that's almost impossible to break. Believe me, I've tried.
"Your product, Microsoft Outlook, is a key enabler of this meeting madness. Now, don't get me wrong, I like Outlook. But the problem is, Outlook makes it too easy to set up meetings. Pick a time, select your invitees, and hit send. No need to contemplate if the meeting is really necessary or if the invitees are the right ones to resolve the issue.
"Plus, Outlook's rigidity leads most organisers to book hour-long meetings when they may only need 10 minutes for a quick chat. As a result, attendees tend to while away the other 50 minutes on idle gossip or checking the latest sports scores on their smartphones."
In the note, Reisinger called on Nadella to add different categories to Outlook meetings, allowing staff to select shorter timeframes. A mandatory meeting template also made his list of suggestions, along with different colours to match the meeting type and length. He claims this would solve many of the problems Outlook enables today.
He ended by urging Nadella to take action.
"You and Microsoft can help resolve this issue," he said. "With a few upgrades to Outlook, you can put more work time in our schedules, liberate us from endless meetings and unleash worker productivity across the globe."
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