Michael Mankins published an article in 2014 outlining the number of hours in a year the employees of one large company spent in meetings to support one weekly excom meeting. The findings of the data collected are astounding and certainly reaffirm just how poorly some organizations manage their time.
300,000 – to be exact – is the number of hours employees spent in a year in meetings to prep for ONE weekly excom meeting. The findings of the study estimated that senior level staff dedicated 7000 hours a year to those meetings. 11 unit-level meetings meant to provide senior level staff with the information for their weekly meeting took up another 20,000 hours and then unit-level managers spent another 63,000 hours a year in meetings to prepare for the unit-level meetings. They study reported that the remaining 210,000 hours were divided amongst an average of 130 weekly prep meetings. The article also noted that the hours did not include time spent by individual employees preparing for meetings.
Some of the most important decisions a business makes happen in meetings. Yet, so many businesses aren’t using their meeting time effectively. The weekly excom meeting of the studied company may very well be critical to its operations but its CIO has to question whether the remaining 293,000 meeting hours were really being used effectively. Companies need to establish a way to track and monitor the time they spend in meetings. By eliminating meetings that aren’t needed or by simply planning smarter meetings, companies can save countless hours of employees time and, ultimately, millions of dollars.