October 4, 2022

How Companies Waste Millions of Dollars Every Year on Inefficient Meetings

How meetings became our daily way of communicating rather than a way of efficiently discussing things that matter

Founder Associate

Over the last years, meetings have become our daily way of communicating rather than a way of discussing things that matter.

Meetings in times of remote work

Especially in times of remote work, the amount of meetings has increased drastically, while the quality has plummeted. And this is true across almost all industries. A study by Steven Rogelberg has shown that employees spend an average of 18 hours in meetings every week. The number of meetings increases with the seniority and rank at the company. For example, managers or C-level executives spend the majority of their week in meetings.

So how many of these meetings are actually productive and add value to the company's main objectives? Well, the number is shockingly low. About 15 minutes per every hour meeting are wasted money. That means 25 percent of the total meeting time is spent unproductively!

But how can we have more effective meetings?

If you really want to embrace the culture of having effective meetings in your company, it's not just about routines. Sharing your meeting agenda beforehand or showing up on time should be normal.

It's much more about rethinking the meeting culture and the way of communication you currently practice. Transforming this culture into one that stops wasting the time of every single attendee. This could save you millions.

Before sending out the next meeting invite, you should ask yourself the following question: Do I really need that meeting in the first place? And what can I do to make sure that the time spent in this meeting is not totally wasted?

Big companies around the world waste more than 100 million dollars every year on unproductive meetings. But why is that the case?

Main reasons for unproductive meetings

Many surveys over the last years have shown that almost a third of all meetings that we attend are unnecessary. One reason for that is that most of us don't dare to decline meeting invitations. Although, we don't need to be part of that particular meeting or would rather like to skip it.

But why do we attend meetings that do not add value to our work? The most common answer is that it's a workplace norm to accept meeting invites.

So before sending out invites for the next meetings, stop a second and think about who really needs to be part of that meeting and whose time should better be spent on other tasks. Other reasons are audio or internet-related issues that cause the meeting to be delayed.

The cause that is probably most mentioned, is the missing accountability due to lacking written records of meetings. In most day-to-day meetings, taking notes is a personal responsibility. Since having a secretary to take notes for you is out of budget and mostly unfeasible. But the hard truth is that only a few do take structured notes that are then shared with all attendees. Due to a lacking written record, takeaways, tasks, and other action items are often lost and never followed up on again.

Ok..., we probably all know that we could improve our meeting culture here and there. But only very few of us know what the monetary implication of inefficient meetings is.

Companies like Amazon, Zapier, Github, and many more have faced the same problem in recent years. Instead of spending endless hours in meetings, they decided to establish a writing culture to break up knowledge silos and increase transparency. This not only helped them to increase accountability and transparency, but also saves them millions of dollars every year.

How much does your company waste every year on unproductive meetings?

Since many don't know how much money they invest every year in unproductive meetings, we build a short quiz for you. That helps you find out how much you spend on meetings every year and how much of that is wasted money. If you want to find out more, click here.

If you want to learn more about how to establish a writing culture in your company and save millions of dollars every year, feel free to reach out to us. We are more than happy to discuss best practices with you that are used all over the world.

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