Calculating the Cost of Meetings


Calculating the Cost of Meetings

Meetings are probably one of the most expensive overhead cost within any organization or business.

According to the Wharton Center for Applied Research, the average CEO spends 17 hours per week in meetings, senior executives an average of 23 hours and middle managers 11 hours. And according to senior and middle managers only 56% of these meetings are productive.

The same research found that if managers use meetings appropriately they can reduce the time spent in meetings by 25%. Effective management of remaining meetings can reduce the time spent in meetings by another 20%. This translates into a huge savings.

Calculating the Cost of Meetings
Here is a good example:  Consider the costs related to a Business Meeting with a management team with 5 people.  Each has a annual salary of $100,000 per person. This business team spends an average of 15 hours a week in meetings. The weekly meeting cost for these 5 people is about $4,076. The annual costs of this meeting would be approximately $212,000!

Harvard Business Review developed a simple web app that calculates how much a meeting costs the company. It asks you how long the meeting is, how many attendees there are, and the estimated salary of each person attending. Once you have it all entered, you’ll see how much that quick half hour meeting actually costs. There are plenty of necessary meetings too, but this calculator certainly sheds new light on the less productive meetings out there. Whether you’re running the meetings, or just forced to attend them, knowing or showing the cost might help you or whoever’s in charge approach some meetings differently. You can try it out and even add the web app to your smartphone’s home screen at the link below.

Estimate the Cost of a Meeting WithThis Calculator | Harvard Business Review

Administrative Tips for Improving the Cost of Meetings

• Establish a go-to-meeting, or similar online meeting resource for long distance attendees.
• Provide an Agenda with the Meeting Invitation. Note “required attendees”.
• Start and End meetings on time. Get buy-in from attendees for next meeting date and time.
• Set a deadline for expected deliverables at least one week in advance.
• Document or record notes and action items.
• If the executive is unable to attend, send an alternative attendee to the meeting.
• Follow through with meeting notes and action items.
• Ensure meeting attendees have access to archived meeting documentation.

This point is, if the cost of this meeting example was reduced by 40%, the savings would be around $85,000 per year! provides meeting planning services to include scheduling a meeting, attending a meeting, and/or record notes and action items on your behalf.

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