You don’t need us to tell you that too long and too frequent meetings are a waste of time, but they are also a massive waste of money. As we spend more and more (and more!) time on meetings each year we need to learn how to better manage this precious resource that is our time at work.
Can you believe that senior managers spend nearly 23 hours on meetings every week? That’s half of your week done and dusted.
But it wasn’t always like this. Among 1,900 business leaders interviewed for a survey 72% confirmed that they spend more time in meetings compared to five years ago.
The Times They Are A-Changin’
The way we work today has changed drastically compared to fifty years ago. Current business models are often flat instead of hierarchical and encourage a stronger employee interaction. Sure, talking more gets more ideas flowing, but casual chats come at a high price.
So, what’s the price? The Harvard Business Review put together a handy calculator which can help you assess how much a specific meeting is costing you. Five employees with a salary of $60,000 meeting for 30 minutes cost $105 for example. US businesses alone spend around 37 billion dollars on meetings each year.
Surprisingly, most employees agree that although sometimes painful, meetings are generally regarded as productive.
So how do you make them better?
- Schedule meetings only if they’re necessary.
- Keep it as brief and concise as possible.
- Visualise then execute.
- Eliminate distractions (like phones).
- Don’t take hostages, let your coworkers walk out if they want.
- Never meet on an empty stomach (or right after lunch – digesting uses energy).
But there’s another aspect to this issue. Frequent unimportant meetings will often interrupt your coworker’s workflow forcing them to put in overtime. Do you have the heart to make them miss their kid’s recital? You don’t, so don’t waste their time.
Time isn’t just money, that’s why we need to spend it wisely.