[Infographic] The Cost Of Unproductive Meetings


Unproductive meetings are a costly problem, both to employees and to businesses. We, with the help of Censuswide, conducted a survey of 500 respondents across the UK to find out just how damaging unproductive meetings really are.

Over a third (36%) of meetings are unproductive, and from stressed employees looking for a new job, to a £1,400 hole in your company’s pocket (per employee per year), the results paint a worrying picture…


Why are meetings unproductive?

Because of too much…

Every meeting needs a goal. An achievable goal that can be completed within the time allocated. But too often, meetings include too many tasks to try and complete (37% of people feel meeting agendas are too full) with too many of these tasks being completely irrelevant (36% of respondents having worked on pointless tasks). This leads to too many meetings in general, as 50% of meetings ending up with another meeting being scheduled! Full-circle unproductivity.

… and too little.  

From a lack of clarity (71% of respondents agreed), to little encouragement to speak up and make their opinions heard (suffered by 13% of employees), meetings need some extra focus. As the ‘Meetings in numbers’ section above shows, every industry suffers from meeting unproductivity, and the consequences can be serious.   


What are the consequences?

To the employee.

41% of employees feel more stressed because of unproductive meetings. This worrying stat jumps up to 64% for millennials. Stress shouldn’t be underestimated. It leads to lower motivation, and together that can lead to lower levels of productivity, poor time keeping and even an increase in the number of absent / sick days.

To the company.

This employee stress and lack of motivation can lead to job loss. 25% of people look for new jobs during a bad meeting, and again, this number rockets up for millennials to 60%. Losing an employee can be a costly issue, as replacing an employee is always a difficult, and expensive, task for any sized company.

For those of you who prefer their dramatic stats in financial form, unproductive meetings are costing British businesses £1,400 per employee every year. That’s the costly consequence of unproductivity, and it shouldn’t be ignored.

But, this can be prevented. You just have to rethink your strategy towards meetings. And fortunately, we’ve done it for you…


How can you overcome this problem?

Step 1 – Set realistic goals and achieve them

Think about every detail of the meeting in advance. The number of attendees, the style of meeting, the primary goal you want to achieve, the things that matter. Then, and only then, send any prep material you can well in advance, so every attendee knows exactly what the meeting is about. No guesswork, no confusion, no distractions. Lovely.

This may seem like ‘added work’ but it’s the first step to a productive meeting. Without a realistic goal in mind, you’ll never make the most out of a meeting. You’ll just enter that horrible full-circle of unproductivity that we all already hate.

Step 2 – Engage and collaborate with your attendees

Make sure every attendee is in the room for a reason and can feel free to make a contribution. With everyone collaborating, keep track of everything that is said (use technology to help you out). You wanted these people in a room together for a reason, so let them contribute and collaborate. Remember, 92% of people agree that if they were able to share ideas, they would not only be more engaged at work, they’d be happier too.

Oh, and keep an eye on the time! Try to not let things overrun unless they really need too. Nobody likes a long meeting. Nobody.

Steps 3, 4, 5, 6… – Constantly look to improve

The only way to make your next meeting better than your last is to get feedback from everyone who attended. Getting feedback can lead to better meetings, better meetings means more productive meetings and more productive meetings means both happier employees AND a lower cost to the company. It’s a simple formula, but one that too few companies use. If you’re still not sure, just take another look at the numbers above.

Unproductive meetings don’t just impact employees, they impact your company as a whole and are a costly waste of time. Use the right tools and the right strategy to make them productive and save yourself a lot of money.

For more information, please contact contact@wisembly.com or call us on +44 (0) 20 37 69 68 40


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