However you voted, there’s no arguing that the 2016 Presidential election was one of the most polarizing in our history. And the result was one of the least anticipated by media and political cognoscenti in the past half century.
We had a hunch that such an election and its aftereffects (demonstrations, self-recrimination, surprise exultation) might be visible in our meeting data, so we took a look. It turns out, our customers did behave differently this past election week than they do on a typical fall week.
Here’s what we learned. (N.B.: Our AI meeting scheduling agents Amy and Andrew were born in 2014. As a result, we cannot compare last week’s behavior to customer behavior during prior Presidential elections, which would have presented the ideal control cases.)
- Our customers scheduled significantly fewer meetings on the day after the election. The chart below indicates that November 8th (Tuesday) scheduling volume was aligned with past Tuesdays. But by November 9th (Wednesday, the day after the election), scheduling activity declined by a whopping 24%. Scheduling activity returned to normal levels on Thursday. During the immediate aftermath of the election, our customers were less focused on meetings (we can’t say what they were doing instead); however, the election didn’t distract them from such tasks for long, given that by Thursday, our customers were back in the scheduling saddle.
- Our customers rescheduled notably fewer meetings the entire election week. Reschedules can be initiated by either our customers or their guests. Given the dramatic drop off in reschedules (at least 33% fewer compared to an average week), it seems that the election refocused people’s priorities. Both our customers and their guests seemed to be keeping their heads down.
Our customers initiated far fewer meetings right after the election and focused on the ones they had already set up. One way to read this data would be that sometimes politics trumps work, if only for a day.