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In brief: Now that more people are working from home, meetings are taking up a bigger chunk of employees' working days. To help keep track of how much time is spent in collaborative gatherings, Google is adding a "Time Insights" panel to Calendar on the web.
Google writes that Time Insights gives users a breakdown of information based on their meetings for the week. This includes the amount of time spent in one-on-ones with others, meetings with three or more guests, and how long the sessions lasted, all via easy-to-read pie charts and bar charts.
The feature also highlights the days when meetings take up most of an employee's working hours, along with meeting frequency. Users can also see which co-workers they spend the most time in meetings with and pin key people to ensure they're keeping in touch with them. Another helpful tool is the ability to hover over an individual to highlight meetings on the calendar that include that person.
In December, Microsoft responded to backlash against its Productivity Score tool in Microsoft 365, which essentially allowed managers to monitor employees' activities, by removing usernames from the feature, stopping companies from accessing information about individuals. It seems Google may have taken heed; the information in Time Insights is only available to users, not managers—though anyone who manages other people's calendars and has "manage sharing access" permission can view Time Insights.
Time Insights is rolling out over the next few weeks and will be available for users on the Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Plus, and Nonprofits subscription tiers. Some users, including G Suite Basic and Business customers, won't get access. It's only coming to desktop browsers—no word on the feature launching on mobile.
During the height of the lockdowns last year, a Microsoft study found people working from home were spending more time in meetings each day; even though their lengths had decreased, the frequency of meetings had shot up.
Main image credit: myndziakvideo