With up to three-quarters of meetings proving completely unnecessary, research from Britain suggests the wasteful minutes can be replaced by more productive means of communication.
UK-based employment law consultancy Protecting.com.uk says wasteful meetings can cost a company thousands of pounds per day based on lost productivity.
“Managers who let meetings run for hours can be worse for company profits than worker absenteeism,” says Protecting.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall.
“We worked out the cost of a meeting involving 10 people in an average British business and we were stunned by the results,” Hall says. “The sad fact is that many meetings can be replaced with something cheaper and more efficient.”
The company’s research shows that a one-hour meeting attended by 10 people and one manager costs at least £250 (AU$480) in salaries alone, before taking into account those that travel to be present. The inclusion of a legal representative or a member of senior management can push the meeting cost up to £750.
“And if you add external consultants, a one-hour meeting can quite easily hit £1,000,” Hall says. “And the worst part is that managers are often blind to how much money is leaking out of their organisation as a result.
“We’ve heard of people being tied up for days and weeks at a time, deciding nothing and getting nothing done. The cost of these travesties runs into the tens of thousands of pounds, yet these are the same organisations that hound their staff over a missing lunch receipt for a tenner.”
He suggests replacing meetings with emails, short briefings, and desk-based conferencing and chat tools. And when face-to-face is absolutely necessary, keep it as short as possible.
“Most people would rather be doing something rather than sitting in a room talking turkey,” Hall says. “Look after your company’s profits – keep those meetings short and sweet.”