Business Briefs: More Meetings Than Ever, Think Twice About that Contest & the Fastest-Growing Occupations

Welcome to Business Briefs! The world of academic publications features fascinating findings from real-world experiments in business and the marketplace. Here are some key takeaways and applicable nuggets of knowledge that may be helpful for your business.

Meetings, The Sequel

At the onset of the pandemic, the subject of workplace meetings became a hot topic. In a world of remote work, video conferencing evolved as an indisposable way for teams to communicate in real time on a regular basis. 

Now in the aftermath of the pandemic, workplaces have changed. While many have returned to the office, remote opportunities are much more common. And meetings?

Well, there are more meetings than ever. Microsoft does an annual study called the Work Trend Index that that mixes in both 31,000 responses to a survey and its giant data set from software users. Since February of 2020, the number of meetings for the average Microsoft Teams user is up 252%. That is, you have more than twice as many meetings as before. 

Because meetings are often the enemy of productivity, this might explain another figure noted in the study: on average, the workday is now 46 minutes longer. 

Read more here

Microsoft WorkLab – Great Expectations: Making Hybrid Work Work, Annual Report

The Downside of Contests

Okay, so you’ve got this really great hype idea. You’ll host a contest to name your latest product. It hits all the yes buttons: It’s exciting, it gets customers involved and engaged.

But there can be only one winner. 

Ever thought about that part? That, when you identify a winner, you’ll be rejecting a whole bunch of people? And experiencing rejection can influence the future behavior on the customer’s part. 


In a study involving 401 subjects, researchers tested customer reactions to having their ideas rejected in a contest. In the first part of the study, researchers noted that losing a contest is stressful and it decreases positive word-of-mouth, as well as customer communication and intent to engage in the future. AND, losing an idea contest increases negative word of mouth for a business. Rejecting a customer’s idea is kinda like breaking up with someone. 

How do you fix things up after such a faux pas? The team also launched different forms of rejection communication, to see if it makes a difference if rejection arrives as a form letter or as an individual communication. Individual communication, it turns out, is likely better. Individual communication will cause some level of delight at being recognized…although it didn’t seem to impact anger levels. 

So maybe ix-nay on the contests. 

Read more here

Mario Schaarschmidt and David B. Dose – Customer Engagement in Idea Contests: Emotional and Behavioral Consequences of Idea Rejection, Psychology & Marketing

Fastest-Growing Populations

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is filled with all sorts of tables and diagrams, some of which predict the future. It’s ranked the fastest-growing occupations based on 2031 employment projections, so if you’re looking for an opportunity…

  1. Nurse practitioners
  2. Wind turbine service technicians
  3. Ushers, lobby attendants, ticket-takers
  4. Motion picture projectionists
  5. Restaurant cooks

Candidly, we did not see #3 and #4 coming. Time will tell. And the downside is that only the occupation in the #1 position (that’s nurse practitioners) earns six figures. Data Scientists, though, come in at #6, and their median annual wage is just a little over $100K. 

Read more here

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Employment Projections