Businesses must enforce effective time management strategies company-wide rather than rely on individuals to set their own agendas.

This is according to consultancy firm Bain & Company, which claimed thousands of hours are lost each year due to unproductive meetings, long email chains and a lack of employee monitoring.

The organisation's figures revealed 15 per cent of a business's time is spent in meetings – a number that has risen steadily since 2008.

In one case study, the management firm found senior leadership consumed 7,000 working hours per year this way, with a further 300,000 hours company-wide among subordinates in related meetings.

Michael Mankins, leader of Bain's organisation practice, said senior executives must approach the problem in a different way if they wish to boost productivity.

"Most time management advice focuses on individual actions – be choosy with meetings, rein in your email box," he explained.

"But this advice sometimes goes against your company's culture: Ignore emails and meeting invitations and you risk alienating your colleagues – or your boss."

Instead, innovative businesses build a culture where time is seen as a valuable resource and receives as much investment as capital. 

Bain & Company listed a number of time management sins of which many organisations are guilty, including:

Muddled business agencies: Better strategy management could help firms identify more important initiatives and shelve tasks that can wait.

Poor decision-making: Some companies fail to have effective decision-making processes in place due to a lack of standardisation across the business.

Rushed projects: Executives can be too eager to start a new project instead of formulating a convincing business case based on solid strategic planning.

Companies can overcome a number of these problems by implementing strategy software such as StrategyBlocks to optimise business performance across a variety of areas, including organisation-wide time management.