The 8am meeting: Perfect time or corporate crime?

Is an 8am meeting ever OK?

The touch-base. The stand-up. The check-in.

A Black man with his head in his hands in front of a laptop with clocks showing 8 o’clock in the background.

Whatever you call it, working in corporate America seems to mean a constant stream of meetings.

To make matters worse, there’s an intricate web of unspoken social rules and etiquette guiding how and when meetings are scheduled — and, it turns out, not everyone is on the same page.

A particularly contentious battleground in the discourse? The 8am meeting, both dreaded by employees and promoted by employers, per The Wall Street Journal.

But let’s back up for a second — regardless of the time, employees have a ton of meetings:

  • There were ~55m meetings held in the US each week as of 2023; that’s 11m+ a day and 1B+ a year.
  • American workers spent an average of 7.5 hours a week in meetings, according to a 2023 Microsoft report.

All of that time spent waving and smiling on Zoom adds up: an estimated $37B is lost each year to unproductive meetings.

Early bird not-so-special

So we know that we’re likely spending too much time in meetings, but what time of day is best for all those calls?

  • Research suggests the sweet spots fall between 10am and noon if you’re looking for focus and concentration, or between 2:30pm and 3pm if the aim is high attendance.
  • In 2023, 43% of meetings logged on Calendly fell between 2pm and 6pm, while 3% occurred between 8am and 9am.

Proponents of the 8am meeting often work across global time zones and, if they’re lucky, can take that first morning call from home.

The remaining majority of workers hate the early morning meeting for a slew of fair reasons; it can interfere with those little things like sleep, child care, working out, and eating.

Scroll to the bottom to let us know where you fall in this debate, but we’ll just put it out there now: Don’t you dare put an 8am on our calendars.

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