Meetings. We all have them. Most of us dread them. Lately, I’ve been wondering – have meetings become an unnecessary evil in the corporate world? Think about how many times you have thought, “Wow, this is a waste of my time. I have more important things I could be doing right now.”
While this is probably true, I believe meetings are wasting more than just your time – they are wasting the company’s money as well. (Time equals money, right?) This blog post analyzes the hidden truth behind the real cost of meetings.
At my company, the average person’s time costs $50 per hour. Think about a room of 20 people attending a one-hour training session. And, let’s say there are 15 sessions total that have the same amount of people (20) attending each session. Now let’s do the math. Each training session will cost the company $1000. Multiply this by the total number of sessions, that’s a total of $15,000 spent to train nearly 300 staff people for only one hour.
One department head shares his insight:
“For the cost, you could say that it is $50 an hour, but that doesn’t even include the cost of lost productivity since our folks bill out at over $100 typically. That makes meetings even more expensive!
Meetings are like emails. Think really carefully before copying everyone in the world and then before replying to all. Do they really need to waste time reading that email too?”
Wow, it’s even more expensive to get a group of people together for one hour than I thought. I wonder, what do we really get out of meeting anyway?
I’m not sure about you, but the meetings I attend are typically the same old run through. *yawn* How’s the project going? Do you need help with anything? When do you think you’ll have this ready? Sometimes I want to ask, “Must we really meet to have this conversation?”
And, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the same information typically reported in yet another meeting to someone else somewhere down the line – whether it’s a manager, team lead – whoever? So, that’s another meeting to give the same status report to someone else, right?
Or, even worse, the meeting is required but the topic discussed doesn’t even pertain to you at that moment, but may in the future. This means, when you do need the information (if at all), you’ll still have to make an effort to seek the information out anyway (but not a moment before).
Why give employees information when they don’t need it? Instead, shouldn’t we make it as easy as possible for them to find it when they do?
Here’s food for thought:
- On average, how much time do we spend in meetings?
- How often are people meeting? Is it necessary?
- How many people are involved in the meeting?
- How much time does the meeting really take? (Think: creating the preso, asking IT to set up the conference equipment, ordering food, etc.)
- What are you expecting to achieve as a result of meeting?
- Is there any other way to get this information other than meeting?
- Are the right people even there? If not, do you share a meeting recap with them? (If your answer is no, why invite them in the first place?)
Look around the room the next time you’re in a meeting. Consider the workloads and priorities of the people attending. Ask yourself if this is this really the best way to communicate this information. If not, what is? What do the other people around you think? Consider asking your colleagues, “What can we do about this?” (unless, of course, you like having meeting-after-meeting days).
Call me crazy for believing there has to be a better way. (Wait, there is – it’s called the intranet.)
I’d like to know your thoughts…
- In what ways do you feel the intranet could help free up your time so you can do the things you need to do, not the things someone else wants you to do, like meet?
- Prior to reading my thoughts, had you ever considered how costly it is to have meetings?
- Is there anything your organization does particularly well to share information in a different way than scheduling meetings?
- What are the other hidden costs associated with meetings?