We spend 10-50% of our time in meetings.
Why is so much of that time wasted?
Managers' Time In Meetings
Time In Meetings
Managers and executives spend between 25% and 75% of their time in meetings.
Averaged across all employees, we spend about 15% of our collective time in meetings. That is a LOT of time. We should probably make the best of that time, right?
Luong, A., & Rogelberg, S.G. (2005). Meetings and more meetings: The relationship between meeting load and the daily well-being of employees. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 9, 58-67. doi: 10.1037/1089-26184.108.40.206
Romano, N. C., Jr., & Nunamaker, J. F., Jr. (2001). Meeting analysis: Findings from research and practice. Paper presented at the 34th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Maui, Hawaii. doi:10.1109/HICSS.2001.926253
Waste and Failure
Given the amount of time we spend in meetings, you’d think we would really focus on making that time count. But research shows, that is not the case. Studies and surveys show that 25%-50% of meeting time is wasted or irrelevant.
We’re Not Even Trying
In one extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies, researchers found that, “[these] organizations do little or nothing to assess the return on this meeting investment or to take substantive steps to assure the investment is a good one.”
Is there any other area of business where this would be considered acceptable?
Rogelberg, S. G., Shanock, L. R., & Scott, C. W. (2012). Wasted time and money in meetings: Increasing return on investment. Small Group Research, 43, 236-245
- Meetings with No Agenda 63%
- Percent of Meeting Time Considered Wasted 35%
- Consider Meetings Boring 43%
- Admit to Falling Asleep in Meetings 40%
Going Off Topic
No Agenda or Goals
Disorganized or Ineffective Facilitation
Most Commonly Cited Meeting Problems
The causes of our meeting disasters are well understood. When asked, people commonly identify a short list of the most destructive practices.
Clearly, the problem is not that we don’t understand what is wrong. We all KNOW what we should do. The problem is doing it consistently. We’ll come back to that in a moment.
How Much is Your Organization Wasting?
It is a simple matter to estimate approximately how much an average company wastes on poorly executed meetings.
This chart shows a conservative estimate of the waste, based on organization size. It assumes that: 1) 15% of all employee time is spent in meetings, 2) 30% of meeting time is wasted (conservatively), and 3) the average, fully loaded cost of each employee is $75/hour (again, conservative).
You can read why the true costs of undisciplined meetings go far deeper than salary time lost.
Annual Meeting Waste by Org Size
Bring Focus, Get Results.
Instant Agenda helps everyone run more productive meetings.