The cost of unnecessary meetings


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.”

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Deb
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Deb

We are bombarded with research that says email is not an efficient means of communication, face to face builds trust etc etc
Deciding nothing and getting nothing done applies as much to wading through mountains of emails as it does to attending a meeting
This article is frustratingly one sided, and ignores the potential to improve the efficiency of meetings, as well as use the other channels mentioned.
One size never fits all – way too simplistic

Fran Whittingham
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Fran Whittingham

I agree with Deb. I am just about to run a workshop re-teams and one of the important discussion points won’t be about wasting time having meetings but about wasting time in a meeting. It is efficiencies, commitment to actions and follow through which make all the difference.

Julian
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Julian

The costs quantified in the article also assume that participants would have otherwise been 100% productive in whatever they were doing outside the meeting. Perhaps to a degree the meetings provide some respite and make people more efficient when they get back to their desk (that would be interesting research!)
Otherwise, I’ve found a practical tip can be to ‘right-size’ your meetings – I have found using 30 minutes as the default rather than an hour forces the pace to be more brisk.

Adrian totolos
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Adrian totolos

I have worked in IT as a Business Analyst in Financial Services. I have found that meetings can be useless. The creation of the morning scrum, where participants do no more than a 30 second update useful. The adult concentration span is 50 minutes. Meetings should be no more that a hour. Getting people to meetings is one thing, being declined is one thing, no shows an other. Not flushing out the issue pisses people off and causes another meeting to be scheduled.

David Cohen
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David Cohen

In my experience there is another positive component to meetings – that is the creativity that comes from talking out loud in a group – piggy backing on ideas to get great solutions (though group size is important) Lets not throw the baby out with the bath water!

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The cost of unnecessary meetings


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.”

6
Leave a reply

avatar
100000
  Subscribe to receive comments  
Notify me of
Deb
Guest
Deb

We are bombarded with research that says email is not an efficient means of communication, face to face builds trust etc etc
Deciding nothing and getting nothing done applies as much to wading through mountains of emails as it does to attending a meeting
This article is frustratingly one sided, and ignores the potential to improve the efficiency of meetings, as well as use the other channels mentioned.
One size never fits all – way too simplistic

Fran Whittingham
Guest
Fran Whittingham

I agree with Deb. I am just about to run a workshop re-teams and one of the important discussion points won’t be about wasting time having meetings but about wasting time in a meeting. It is efficiencies, commitment to actions and follow through which make all the difference.

Julian
Guest
Julian

The costs quantified in the article also assume that participants would have otherwise been 100% productive in whatever they were doing outside the meeting. Perhaps to a degree the meetings provide some respite and make people more efficient when they get back to their desk (that would be interesting research!)
Otherwise, I’ve found a practical tip can be to ‘right-size’ your meetings – I have found using 30 minutes as the default rather than an hour forces the pace to be more brisk.

Adrian totolos
Guest
Adrian totolos

I have worked in IT as a Business Analyst in Financial Services. I have found that meetings can be useless. The creation of the morning scrum, where participants do no more than a 30 second update useful. The adult concentration span is 50 minutes. Meetings should be no more that a hour. Getting people to meetings is one thing, being declined is one thing, no shows an other. Not flushing out the issue pisses people off and causes another meeting to be scheduled.

David Cohen
Guest
David Cohen

In my experience there is another positive component to meetings – that is the creativity that comes from talking out loud in a group – piggy backing on ideas to get great solutions (though group size is important) Lets not throw the baby out with the bath water!

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.
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