Did you know that meetings take up a lot more time than the hours spent actually in them? And that this leads to billions of wasted dollars?

Three consultants from Bain teamed with VoloMetrix, an enterprise analytics company, to take a close look at the time budgets of 17 large corporations, and discovered that at one large company employees spend 300,000 hours a year just supporting the weekly executive committee meeting.

300,000 hours a year supporting one weekly meeting.

To put that into perspective, each of us has only 8,760 hours in a year (365 days x 24 hours) — including the time we spend sleeping.

That seems like an unbelievable amount of time to spend on a weekly meeting, but the explanation is that this executive status update meeting doesn’t just require the time of the people who are present but has a ripple effect that requires the time of multiple employees to prepare for it.

The Breakdown

According to the report that is summarized in an article in the Harvard Business Review, there are 11 Executives meeting weekly, which equates to 7,000 collective hours annually. Before this meeting, these 11 Executives meet with their Unit Heads to prepare, which equates to 20,000 collective hours annually. To prep for this briefing, Unit Heads meet with their Teams which translates to 63,000 hours annually, and the Teams meet to pre-prep for the meeting with their Unit Heads taking up 210,000 hours a year.

That’s a grand total of a staggering 300,000 hours a year devoted to one status update meeting a week.

The report also notes that this number does not take into consideration the time spent by individuals preparing for these meetings — the average employee spends about 4 hours of prep time per meeting.

If time is money, this meeting structure is costing large companies a lot.

“If time really was money, and accounted for, in the same way, many companies would be running huge deficits,” said Greg Caimi, Bain partner…  “Organizations need to audit their time expenditures and put in place tough controls in order to stop the hemorrhaging of an increasingly valuable asset.” (source)

And, to make it even worse, Bain reports that “at a sample 10,000-employee business, $60 million — 20 percent of the total cost of meetings — was squandered in unproductive activity.”

That’s a lot of money to be tossing away.

How Much Does This Actually Cost?

If you want to calculate the cost of an individual meeting for your own company, check out our post: How Much Do Meetings Cost Your Company?

For now, let’s look at the average cost per employee.

According to Atlassian, the average office worker attends 62 meetings in a month, half of which they consider to be a waste of time.

So, let’s say that these 62 meetings are on average about an hour long, so this employee is spending 62 hours a month in meetings. Let’s say they are on a salary of $75,000 a year, which means that about $2,480 a month is being spent on a single employee attending meetings. This equates to about $30,000 a year.

Now, factor in the stat that about 50% of these meetings are considered to be a waste of time, and you are looking at a loss of $15,000 a year.

I know what you’re thinking: what’s $15,000 a year to a company that is making millions?

But, if a company with 100,000 people has the average employee wasting $15,000 annually as a result of unnecessary or unproductive meeting time, that translates to around $1.5 billion a year being wasted!

What’s The Solution?

The key to saving employees time and your company money is to find a way to have fewer meetings or at least make them shorter and more efficient.

For example, imagine if you could completely cut out a level in the HBR meeting funnel above. Imagine that there was a tool that negated the need for Unit Heads to meet with their teams because they could be briefed by a comprehensive report or through asynchronous technology.

This would cut 63,000 hours a year from this funnel, meaning that this weekly meeting would now take only 237,000 hours of the company’s time.

Or, what if you could cut the average employee’s monthly meetings from 62 to 31, meaning that their annual meeting cost would be only $15,000. And what if the meetings that were held were suddenly more efficient and interactive so that they felt only 15% were a waste of time rather than 50%? That could bring the dollars spent on wasted time from $1.5 billion to $225 million.

That’s a pretty incredible savings of time and money, but is it possible?

This Is Where Stormboard Comes In

Not only does Stormboard make your meetings better and more effective, efficient, and interactive, it can actually stop you from having to hold meetings.

Using one of more than 200 customizable templates, you are able to collaborate, brainstorm, or provide updates to your team in real time, on any device, which means that you don’t actually have to gather together in order to give weekly status updates or prep your team for a larger meeting.

If you can’t avoid holding a meeting, you can keep it short with Stormboard by preparing ahead of time, and even have your team participate before you meet by sharing ideas, or pre-reviewing any documents or important points that will be covered so they arrive ready to go and with ideas to contribute.

Also, with Stormboard you can export the ideas from your template into a professional report that can be collaboratively edited and then shared immediately with meeting participants or key stakeholders. These reports can be used as your weekly update with management, eliminating the need for an in-person status meeting, or at least shortening it. Reports are available as a PNG, PDF, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Wordle, and more.

Want to learn more about how Stormboard can save you time and money? Check out these articles:

10 Ways Stormboard Can Help You Make Your Meetings Better

How Much Do Meetings Cost Your Company?

Make your meetings better! Sign-up for Stormboard today.