Scheduling links have quickly become the go-to way to coordinate meeting times across the calendars of busy professionals. Instead of the endless back-and-forth email exchange to find mutual free time, professionals are able to shoot over a quick link to share their availability and allow their invitee to grab whatever time works best with their own schedule. And while this major scheduling optimization has streamlined millions of professionals calendars worldwide, we have uncovered serious availability, coordination, and scheduling etiquette issues that increase by the complexity of the schedulers calendar.
This scheduling trends report surveying over 800 busy professionals reveals how they are using scheduling links across different role types, for internal and external meetings, and analyzes the top issues they face when orchestrating their meetings via scheduling links.
We found that the average professional uses scheduling links 7.1 times a week, and over 96.4% of scheduling link users leverage them at least once a week. And while scheduling link users lean so heavily on the tool for setting up their meetings, the biggest issue they face is prioritization. Over 60% of users want to be able to prioritize certain meetings over others, and offer more availability to get those high-priority meetings scheduled sooner over low-priority meetings that can be set up a week or two out.
In a world where the average professional attends over 25 meetings/week, it’s clear we face an addiction to meetings in the workforce. And while we’re slowing working to reduce the number of meetings on our schedules each week, meetings are not disappearing anytime soon, so it’s important busy professionals set them up in a flexible and optimized fashion so their workweeks aren’t completely tied up as priorities change across the slew of calendars that overlap with our own every week.
How often scheduling links are used for meetings
Scheduling links have become an essential tool for meeting coordination, and heavily leveraged as the number of meetings on the calendar continues to increase putting more and more strain on busy schedulers. Let’s take a look at how often scheduling links are used for meetings every week.
- The average professional uses scheduling links 7.1 times/week
- 96.4% of scheduling links users use them on a weekly basis
- 44.7% of professionals use scheduling links over 5x/week
- 18.5% of professionals use scheduling links over 10x/week
- 5.2% of professionals use scheduling links over 20x/week
So if professionals average 25.6 meetings per week, that means that 27.9% of all weekly meetings are set up via scheduling links. That’s a major percentage of meetings, considering how many recurring meetings are scheduled without coordination on the calendar.
And almost half of professionals use their scheduling links over 5 times a week, with power users leveraging their links over 20 times a week to manage their meeting-intense calendars. And with an average meeting length of 50.6 minutes, that means these super users are coordinating almost 17 hours of new meetings via scheduling links each week.
Scheduling link use by managers vs. execs vs. ICs
So who leverages scheduling links the most across busy organizations? In this next analysis, we break down scheduling link use by managers vs. executives vs. individual contributors (ICs).
- Executives use scheduling links 8.1 times/week on average
- Managers use scheduling links 6.7 times/week on average
- ICs use scheduling links 7.0 times/week on average
Unsurprisingly, executives, who tend to spend the largest portion of their workweek in meetings, average the highest use of scheduling links at 8.1 times per week. This is likely attributed to the wide variety of meetings that are typically attended by executives as they coordinate meetings across all aspects of the organization.
While it may surprise you to find that ICs average higher scheduling link use than managers at 7.0 times per week vs. 6.7, this is probably because a large portion of manager meetings are recurring with their direct reports, and likely not scheduled via scheduling links.
Scheduling link use by team department
Now that we’ve analyzed scheduling link use by role type, let’s take a look at how they’re leveraged across different teams and departments within an organization.
- Finance/accounting professionals use scheduling links 9.7 times/week on average
- Sales professionals use scheduling links 9.1 times/week on average
- CEOs/owners/founders use scheduling links 9.0 times/week on average
- Marketing professionals use scheduling links 7.9 times/week on average
- Operations/HR professionals use scheduling links 7.3 times/week on average
- Product professionals use scheduling links 6.3 times/week on average
- Freelance/consulting professionals use scheduling links 6.2 times/week on average
- Software/engineering professionals use scheduling links 5.3 times/week on average
- Students use scheduling links 4.2 times/week on average
- All others use scheduling links 7.1 times/week on average
As we can see, there is a wide variety of average across different departments and teams with the highest use by finance and accounting professionals at almost 10 times each week. It’s no shock that sales professionals and CEOs, owners, and founders also ranked high at an average of over 9 times per week as they use scheduling links to set up meetings to expand business opportunities for their organization.
Scheduling links for external vs. internal meetings
Since scheduling links are primarily used to set up one-time meetings with people who may not be able to see your availability inside of their workplace, many people assume that they’re only used to coordinate meeting times across external meetings with people who are not in the same company. However, we found that scheduling links are actually starting to make a big dent in setting up meeting times across internal meetings with coworkers too.
- 74.3% of scheduling links are used for external meetings
- 25.7% of scheduling links are used for internal meetings
- 33.6% of people use scheduling links for external meetings only
- 1.9% of people use scheduling links for internal meetings only
This report discovered that over a quarter of all scheduling link use is actually for coordinating internal meetings across coworkers in the same company. This finding highlights the need for meeting optimization, even at an internal level, as meetings have increased 69.7% since the start of the pandemic.
However, 33.6% of scheduling link users only leverage their links for external meetings, the most common meeting type set up through scheduling links, with less than 2% exclusively using scheduling links for internal meetings only.
Internal & external scheduling link use by managers vs. execs vs. ICs
So which role type leverages scheduling links more for internal vs. external meetings? Let’s take a look at the breakdown across managers vs. executives vs. individual contributors.
- 80% of executive scheduling link usage is for external meetings
- 72.0% of manager scheduling link usage is for external meetings
- 70.0% of IC scheduling link use is for external meetings
It turns out that executives leverage scheduling links the most for external meetings, with an over 5% higher average than all role types combined. But, both managers and individual contributors are more than 2% under the average external scheduling link use, resulting in almost 30% of their scheduling link use for internal meetings only.
Internal & external scheduling link use by team department
After seeing the wide range of external vs. internal scheduling use by role type, let’s take a look at the breakdown across different teams and departments.
- 81.8% of CEO/owner/founders scheduling link usage is for external meetings
- 81.7% of finance/accounting scheduling link usage is for external meetings
- 81.5% of freelance/consulting scheduling link usage is for external meetings
- 76.2% of sales scheduling link usage is for external meetings
- 73.2% of operations/HR scheduling link usage is for external meetings
- 71.8% of product scheduling link usage is for external meetings
- 71.5% of student scheduling link usage is for external meetings
- 71.0% of marketing scheduling link usage is for external meetings
- 69.7% of software/engineering scheduling link usage is for external meetings
- 72.8% of all other scheduling link usage is for external meetings
All role types averaged over 70% of all scheduling link use for external meetings vs. internal meetings, excluding only software and engineering teams, indicating that across the board, external meetings still dominate usage for this critical meeting coordination tool. External meeting booking via scheduling links is even more prominent for professionals in finance/accounting, freelance/consulting, and CEO/owners/founders who all averaged over 80% of use for external meetings vs. internal meetings.
Top scheduling link issues
While scheduling links solve many pain points for busy professionals (such as cutting down on back-and-forth emails, automatically presenting your availability, and sharing openings in real-time), there are a lot of issues that are actually making basic scheduling links like Calendly links difficult to use for everyday schedulers. Let’s take a look at the top issues with scheduling links today among professionals:
- 60.5% have issues with prioritization (offering more availability for high priority vs. normal meetings)
- 57.8% have issues with flexibility of links (e.g., a link that is only for a 30-minute meeting, but where a 25-minute meeting is possible)
- 54.6% have issues with availability (lack of open time slots)
- 53.0% have issues with rescheduling & canceling meetings via links
- 52.7% have issues with ease of use
- 52.3% have issues with sharing etiquette (without coming off as rude or impersonal)
While some of these issues are more obvious than others, let’s take a closer look at what each of them mean so we can analyze the impact of these results on busy professionals trying to coordinate complex, changing schedules.
#1 Issue - Prioritization
The #1 issue for scheduling link users: how to prioritize the urgent meetings that you need to get on the calendar in the next few days. This also ties into the availability issue highlighted below, but specifically addresses the need for offering high-priority scheduling links vs. normal (or non-urgent) scheduling links. Busy professionals want to offer high-priority scheduling links that offer up more availability, freeing up time you may be placeholding for task work or lunch, so that these important meetings can be scheduled as soon as feasibly possible. This is an issue that technology has struggled with, but with Reclaim.ai’s most recent release of Scheduling Links, you can now send links that offer up more or less availability based on the priority of the meeting – a workflow originally only possible through human assistants. 60.5% of professionals experience this issue with scheduling links, making it the most painful and common problem this technology faces.
#2 Issue - Flexibility
The second biggest issue facing busy professionals using scheduling links is the actual flexibility of their links and the amount of time they offer to incoming schedulers. Instead of just offering a rigid 30-minute time block that may only appear a couple of times a week in a busy schedule, invitees may be willing to accept 20 minutes instead in order to get the meeting booked sooner. 57.8% of professionals face flexibility issues with their scheduling links – and with Reclaim.ai’s new Scheduling Link feature, you can now use flexible durations to resolve it.
#3 Issue - Availability
A never-ending issue professionals will always face is a lack of availability, as time is our most precious and limited resource. 54.6% of professionals have issues sharing their availability via scheduling links because their schedules just don’t present adequate options for booking a new meeting. This creates a negative experience for the invitee, as you may ask them to book a time with you this week, but the nearest opening may not be for a few weeks out.
#4 Issue - Rescheduling & canceling
As any busy professional knows, just because a meeting is on the calendar doesn’t guarantee it’s going to stay there. In fact, 42.4% of 1:1 meetings are rescheduled, and 29.6% are canceled every week. So even though the meeting setup process is optimized through scheduling links, popular scheduling link apps aren’t fully addressing the issue of what happens after the meeting is booked. 53.0% of professionals share that they have issues rescheduling and canceling meetings set up through their scheduling links.
#5 Issue - Ease of use
While scheduling links have been around for almost 10 years, they have dramatically risen in popularity since the Covid-19 pandemic, drawing in many new first-time users. And with any (fairly) new technology, there is always going to be a learning curve which has resulted in over 52.7% of professionals sharing that they experience ease of use issues with setting up and coordinating their scheduling links.
#6 Issue - Sharing etiquette
This is the most widely recognised and discussed issue across scheduling links, but shockingly came in last place: how do I share my link without coming across rude or impersonal? Overall the workforce is rapidly warming up to scheduling link use as the standard as the number of meetings increase and the value of scheduling links becomes more appreciated by busy schedulers, but still today, there are people who are put off receiving a scheduling link without being offered a few dug-up options first. Over half of scheduling link users still find this an active issue and are conscious of coming across rude when sending and asking an invitee to book time with them.
Top scheduling link issues by managers vs. execs vs. ICs
Now that we have a thorough breakdown of each issue, let’s take a look at how these issues affect managers vs. executives vs. individual contributors (ICs).
Top issues reviewed:
- Availability (lack of open time slots)
- Sharing etiquette (without coming off rude/impersonal)
- General ease of use
- Rescheduling & canceling meetings via links
- Prioritizing (offer more availability for high priority vs. low priority meetings/links)
- Flexibility of links (ex. prefer 30-minutes, but would schedule for as short as 20 minutes)
As we can see above, these severity of issues vary drastically by role type. While executives are most impacted by the lack of prioritization via traditional scheduling links at 68.2%, 62.6% of managers express a similar issue in availability, or lack of open time slots, and individual contributors again ranked prioritization the biggest issue at 58.1%. This makes it clear that the biggest issue professionals face across an organization in their scheduling links is presenting the availability they want to get the meetings they need on the calendar.
Top scheduling link issues by team department
Since scheduling link use varies so widely by team and department, we analyzed the top issues across these different departments to understand which are most important to each team.
Rescheduling & canceling meetings through scheduling links
One of the issues highlighted above is rescheduling and canceling meetings set up through scheduling links, so we decided to break down some of the difficulties they face in making adjustments to their meetings.
- 32.1% of meetings set up through scheduling links are rescheduled or canceled
- 55.4% of people have to reschedule or cancel meetings 30% or more of the time
- 22.6% of people who have to reschedule or cancel meetings 50% or more of the time
- 9.8% of people who have to reschedule or cancel meetings 70% or more of the time
As we can see above, almost a third of all meetings set up through scheduling links have to be rescheduled or canceled. And this is not a one-time issue, over half of people are rescheduling at least 30% of the time, and almost 10% of people have to cancel or reschedule over 70% of the meetings they set up through scheduling links.
Lack of availability through scheduling links
One of the top issues facing scheduling link users is a lack of availability they’re able to present through their links. Let’s take a look at some of the deeper issues faced across scheduling link availability.
- 32.7% of scheduling links do not show enough availability where an invitee has to book a meeting too far out
- Only 20.5% of scheduling link users do not have issues showing enough availability in their links
- 55.7% of professionals lack availability in scheduling links 30% or more of the time
- 33.8% of professionals lack availability in scheduling links 50% or more of the time
- 14.2% of professionals lack availability in scheduling links 70% or more of the time
- 3.8% of professionals lack availability in scheduling links 90% or more of the time
Almost a third of all meetings set up through scheduling links do not show enough availability, forcing an invitee to have to schedule too far out causing potential delays in business opportunities and progress for the organization. And this availability issue is faced by almost 80% of all scheduling link users, ranging from 55.7% who report lack of availability 30% or more of the time, and 3.8% who report lack of availability over 90% of the time.
Creating availability for scheduling links
So how are busy professionals combating this lack of availability issue with their scheduling links? They are creating more availability by manually clearing out events from their calendars so schedulers have more openings to book time. Let’s take a look at how professionals are creating this availability.
- Professionals clear events from their calendars 33.6% of the time to create more availability for scheduling links
- Only 20.2% of scheduling link users never have to create more availability in their calendars
- 55.3% of pros have to create more availability 30% of more of the time in their scheduling links
- 35.3% of pros have to create more availability 50% of more of the time in their scheduling links
- 16.3% of pros have to create more availability 70% of more of the time in their scheduling links
- 4.0% of pros have to create more availability 90% of more of the time in their scheduling links
Over a third of all scheduling link users are taking the time to manually clear events from their calendar every week just to create more availability for their scheduling links. In fact, just 20% of scheduling link users don’t have this problem at all. This is a major time-consuming issue that hasn’t been properly addressed – up until the recent launch of Reclaim.ai’s new Scheduling Link feature, which allows you to create high-priority links for the meetings you need to get on the calendar.
At Reclaim.ai, we’re focused on helping busy teams tame their complex, and ever-changing schedules by helping them optimize their calendars around their true priorities, and gathered this research to better understand the biggest issues people face in coordinating the incoming meetings on their calendars. To learn more about the complexities of managing a chaotic schedule in the modern workplace, check out our other recent trends reports:
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