The 2022 Software Engineering Meeting Benchmark Report

See how your Engineering organization compares

Focus time
No Meeting Days
Meeting time
1:1s
No Meeting Days
Focus time
Meeting time
Stand ups
Focus time
Meeting time
Meeting time
Stand ups
Meeting time
No Meeting Days
Focus time
Interviews
1:1s
Team syncs
1:1s
Focus time
No Meeting Days
1:1s
Focus time
Meeting time
Focus time
Stand ups
Meeting time
No Meeting Days
Meeting time
Stand ups
Stand ups
Meeting time
No Meeting Days
Focus time
No Meeting Days
1:1s
Meeting time
Stand ups
Focus time
Meeting time

To benchmark meeting norms and help you identify areas for improvement, we crunched data from:

1,500,000
+ Meetings
80,000
+ Engineers
5,000
+ Companies

Key takeaways

Focus Time has high ROI for engineering teams

Engineering Managers say...

76%

“Focus Time helps my company bring in more revenue.”

80%

“Focus Time helps me finish projects faster.”

90%

“Focus Time makes me more productive.”

Your schedule changes dramatically as you climb the career ladder

19.3 hours

The average Software Engineer spends almost half of their week in Focus Time.

↓9.2 hours

After moving into management, the average Engineering Manager's Focus Time drops by 9+ hours due to an additional 7 hours per week in meetings.

As companies grow, so too does the meeting “coordination tax”

↑5.6 hours

Engineers at small companies average 5.6 more hours of uninterrupted time per week compared to large companies. 

↓2.5 hours

Engineers at small companies spend 2.5 fewer hours per week in meetings than their big company counterparts.

36%

Engineers at medium and large companies spend 36% more time in 1:1s than their peers at small companies.

Detailed findings

The power of focus

A force multiplier for Engineers
focus time and productivity

Engineers are more productive when they can focus deeply

When asked whether Focus Time correlates to productivity, 52% of Engineering Managers strongly agree and 38% agree.

focus time and speed

Engineers work faster when they have more time to focus

When asked whether Focus Time correlates to speed, 40% of Engineering Managers strongly agree and 42% agree.

focus time and revenue

Eng Managers see the revenue impact of focus

When asked whether Focus Time correlates to revenue, 31% of Eng Managers strongly agree and 46% agree.

See how your team compares

Makers vs Managers

Quantifying the promotion penalty
THE MAKER’S SCHEDULE

Most Engineers spend nearly a third of their week in meetings

The average IC Software Engineer spends 10.9 hours per week in meetings.

They spend 19.6 hours in Focus Time and 6.3 hours in-between meetings, something we call “fragmented time.”

When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in.

THE manager's schedule

Eng Managers spend half their time in meetings and have limited Focus Time

After moving into management, the average Eng Manager spends 17.9 hours per week in meetings, 7 hours more than ICs.

They're left with a mere 10.4 hours of Focus Time to work on key initiatives and support their team.

Meetings by role

Expect significantly more meetings as you level up in your career

As you move up the org chart, you tend to attend more meetings. No huge surprise.

But it surprised us to find that meeting load doesn't vary much between Eng Managers, Directors, and Vice Presidents.

Relatedly, Focus Time stays roughly constant as Engineers progress in their career from Manager to VP.

Meetings by role

1:1s are the main culprit

The average Manager and above spends around three hours in 1:1s every week. This leaves less time for focused work. Scheduling and rescheduling three or four weekly meetings is a huge time-sink.

3x
Managers, Directors, and VPs have
triple the number of 1:1s of ICs.

Those of us on the maker's schedule are willing to compromise. We know we have to have some number of meetings. All we ask from those on the manager's schedule is that they understand the cost.

Eng interviews

Most Engineers spend 2-3 hours per week interviewing

The average engineering team member spends 2.6 hours per week interviewing candidates.

The average number of weekly interviews increases slightly as you go up the org chart.

Meetings & the coordination tax

Meetings by company size

Engineers at larger companies have many more meetings

As companies grow, Engineering teams pay an increasing "coordination tax" in the form of meetings.

On average, Engineers at small companies spend 9.7 hours per week in meetings, which is 3.2 fewer hours in meetings than their big company counterparts.

Focus time by company size

Engineers at larger companies have less Focus Time

Role has a huge impact on Focus Time, but company size is also important. Engineers at small companies on average have 5.6 more hours of Focus Time per week than their peers at large companies.

Focus Time is incredibly important for Engineering teams. But as Engineers move up the career ladder, and as companies grow, that Focus Time becomes harder to find. Clockwise helps Engineering teams find time to focus, so they can make the best products possible.

— Matt Martin, Clockwise Co-Founder and CEO

Solutions to meeting challenges

PUT YOUR SCHEDULE TO WORK

Turn fragments into focus

Simply rearranging your schedule can turn annoying gaps between meetings into long stretches of Focus Time.

Rather than spending 15, 30, or 60 minutes between meetings, why not schedule them back-to-back?

And rather than doing it manually, consider letting Clockwise automatically move your flexible meetings to the best time for you and your Eng team.

It’s the norm to have a lot of meetings in my role. What I try to do though is move meetings around to defragment my time so that I can have larger chunks of the time at the beginning and end of the day. This is when I get time to process things and have some focus time to actually do proactive work, which is very important.”

— Lei Yang, VP of Engineering at LinkedIn
TAKE A DAY OFF FROM MEETINGS

Try a No Meeting Day

Rather than leaving it up to your team to limit meetings, consider a No Meeting Day.  One day each week to focus on heads-down work without meetings can greatly increase productivity and reduce stress.

Set and forget your No Meeting Day. Clockwise will automatically suggest the least-interruptive alternative when a teammate tries to schedule on your No Meeting Day.

14%
Of Software Engineering teams
offer a No Meeting Day
Try a No Meeting Day
SWITCH UP YOUR STANDUP

Experiment with your standup routine

The traditional Agile standup is daily. However, only around 35% of engineering teams have a daily standup and just half have one or more “standup” meetings on their calendar in a typical work week.

Tuesday is the most popular day for standups. If there’s a standup, 80% of the time it’s on a Tuesday. Tuesday’s also the weekday with the least Focus Time for the average team.

If you’re low on time, high on meetings, and host a daily synchronous standup, consider moving it to async and/or holding it weekly instead of daily.

35%
Of Engineering teams have at least one
“standup” meeting during a typical work week

Find out how your team compares

Curious about how your team’s calendar compares with your peers? Get in touch to see how your team’s meeting load and Focus Time stack up against other engineering teams.

Compare things like:
  • Meeting time
  • 1:1s
  • Focus time
  • Fragmented time

We’ll also show you how to get more Focus Time in your team's calendars, without canceling any meetings.

Methodology

The benchmarking data in this report is derived from more than 1.5 million meetings from more than 80,000 users who self-reported that they work in Software Engineering. The data was from May 2021 to May 2022. All data was aggregated, anonymized, and contained no personally identifiable information. Clockwise defines Focus Time as a 2+ hour block of uninterrupted time. In the report, small companies = 1-249 employees, medium companies = 250-999, and large companies = 1,000+ employees. The Engineering Manager Focus Time survey was conducted in January 2020 from a survey of 152 self-reported Engineering Managers.