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 aged 44 and under 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.”

Here are some other key takeaways from the survey, conducted between Aug. 6 and Aug. 17, that spanned industries including retail, finance, manufacturing and telecommunications: 

  • Older business leaders in Japan felt more disconnected from their employees
  • Some 58 per cent of respondents said a lack of non-verbal communications made it harder to read others during discussions