Wondering why the meeting went on forever – you’re in good company!

Ben Hamilton
May 9th, 2023

Up to 90 percent of Danes complain they are affected by pointless work in their jobs

Ever feel like changing your name to Sisyphus? (photo: krifa.dk)

“Ever had one of those days when you’re going from one unclear meeting to another?” questions a new study released by the unemployment insurance fund and trade union Krifa with the help of Epinion.

The study reveals a sixth of Danish workers spend between 11 and 20 hours every month working on tasks or participating in meetings they consider to be pointless. Men are twice as likely as women to do so.

The findings can be found in the report ‘Bæredygtige resultater – på sporet af et væredygtigt arbejdsliv’ (Sustainable results – in search of a worthwhile working life). 

Highly demotivating
In total, Krifa department Videncenter for God Arbejdslyst interviewed “2,511 representatively selected Danish employees”, finding that 90 percent were affected by pointless work.

Some 16 percent report a high or very high degree of pointless tasks, while 17 percent estimate they spend 11-20 months a month on them. Managers, in many cases, are blamed for “being poor at prioritising employees’ time” and “not explaining why tasks are important”. 

The study concludes the pointless tasks demotivate the employees. Among those who spend fewer than 10 hours a month, the desire to work is 72/100; among those who spend over 20 hours, the satisfaction rate falls to 57. 

Spurred on by sustainability
In contrast, making society more sustainable is a big incentive.

Up to one in five carry out worthwhile tasks, outside their normal duties and without pay, for the good of clients, associates and the general public.

“There are an alarming number of hours Danish wage earners spend doing pointless work,” contends Christian Borrisholt Steen, a senior consultant at Videncenter for God Arbejdslyst who was the lead author of the study.


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