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Unproductive Meeting Statistics

Unproductive meetings can cost your organization thousands of dollars. See important unproductive meeting statistics here!

By Hannah Ross  •   March 8, 2023  •   6 min read

Unproductive meetings can be detrimental to the long-term success of your organization. Not only do unproductive meetings waste time and lead to unproductive employees, but they can also be a major financial burden. In this article, we’ll dive into staggering statistics that demonstrate the financial burden of unproductive meetings. In addition, we’ll cover the effects of unproductive meetings and teach you everything you need to know about combating unproductive meetings so you can move forward with confidence knowing that everyone in your organization is spending your resources appropriately. 

The cost of unproductive meetings 

Not only do unproductive meetings lead to less productive and disengaged employees, but they may also be costing your organization thousands of dollars. Many working professionals recognize that meetings are taking up too much time, but they fail to recognize the financial burden. According to Aydin Mirzaee, the chief executive officer (CEO) and Co-Founder of Fellow, unproductive meetings cost businesses in the United States upwards of $375B a year. While this sum may seem astronomical, it’s not unrealistic. According to a recent Bloomberg article, unnecessary or ineffective meetings waste $25,000 annually per employee—adding up to $101 million a year for organizations with 5,000 or more employees.

Did you know that professionals who use Fellow spend an average of 16% less time in meetings? As a purpose-built tool for meetings, Fellow supports every type of meeting from one-on-ones to project kickoff meetings and stand-ups so you can boost productivity and cut costs! Calculate the cost of your meetings with our meeting calculator and learn how you can save $2,600 a year by using Fellow today. 

Your meetings are costing you more than you think

Meetings don’t have to cost you so much. People who use Fellow spend 16% less time in meetings. See how much your meetings cost you today!

The effects of unproductive meetings 

The pandemic has forced everyone to embrace new practices that were once foreign. Before the pandemic, meetings were only held when necessary. Colleagues would gather in a boardroom and provide updates on an as-needed basis. As more and more employers around the world began to embrace remote and hybrid work, meetings have become a way to connect in a workforce that remains distributed. According to the Harvard Business Review, the number of meetings attended by working professionals has risen by at least 50% over the past two decades and people have been attending 13% more meetings since the pandemic. An increasing demand of on-screen time is beginning to present challenges including disengagement, boredom, and burnout. People around the world are presently feeling more digitally drained than ever. 

How to combat unproductive meetings 

1Use a meeting agenda

Every good meeting is backed by a comprehensive meeting agenda. A meeting without an agenda is a meeting without purpose and direction, and those are two things you need to have if you intend to host a productive meeting. Remember: no agenda, no attenda! Building a great meeting agenda can be a game changer for your productivity, and tools like Fellow make it easier than ever to create thorough, collaborative agendas—especially when you can find everything you need to host an intentional meeting in one place. Fellow enables you to build collaborative meeting agendas, record decisions, and keep your teammates accountable before, during, and after every meeting. 

2Take collaborative meeting notes

Taking collaborative meeting notes is crucial to hosting a productive meeting. Not only will you be able to reference key information you may need after the meeting, but you’ll also be able to follow up on action items or reference important conversations. When taking meeting notes, it’s best to assign a notetaker and provide different team members with the opportunity to take notes. Notetaking is a great way to improve active listening, comprehension of material, and retention. 

Tools like Fellow make notetaking a breeze. Instead of navigating from document to document during your meeting, you can simply work on collaborative meeting notes directly in your meeting agenda. This means everyone can participate and access the information. 

3Assign action items

Without action items, meetings are simply talk. Assigning action items at the end of your meeting ensures that information that was discussed is acted upon by the appropriate parties. Letting meeting attendees know that you’ll be assigning action items during or after the meeting is also a great way to heighten engagement. In addition to assigning action items, it’s also important to follow up. Circulating meeting notes that specify action items as well as assigned stakeholders post-meeting will ensure meeting attendees know what’s expected of them before the next meeting. 

Fellow makes it possible to keep the momentum going after the meeting by providing you with one easy-to-use tool that you can use to assign, visualize, and prioritize all meetings to-dos in one place. Simply leverage your collaborative meeting agenda to assign action items during your meeting to help all attendees stay organized and remain accountable. 

4Assign and rotate meeting roles

Every great meeting has a meeting host, a notetaker, and a timekeeper. These meeting roles are essential, and as the facilitator, it’s your responsibility to make sure you assign these roles before the meeting start date. Having a notetaker, a timekeeper, and a meeting host will help the meeting run smoothly from start to finish so you can be sure to host a productive and effective meeting. With a notetaker present, you’ll know that everything is documented for future reference, so if anyone in attendance needs to reference an important point at a later date everything will be accounted for in your meeting notes. Additionally, working with a timekeeper will ensure your meeting is timely and efficient, and acting as a host will ensure guests stick to the agenda.

5Standardize meeting habits across the organization

Standardizing meeting habits across your organization will ensure everyone is respectful, cordial, and productive. Meeting habits or meeting ground rules help ensure everyone knows what to expect from start to finish. If everyone knows what to expect and how to proceed, it’s safe to say that your meetings will be more impactful and productive. 

Positive meeting habit examples include: 

  • Minimizing distractions and tuning in 
  • Respecting your time and that of others 
  • Arriving prepared and ready to participate
  • Speaking up only to add value or ask questions 
  • Following through on action items post meeting 
  • Sticking to the meeting agenda and watching the clock 

6Set clear meeting expectations

The benefits of setting clear expectations before your meetings are bountiful. Setting clear expectations provides clarity for you as the manager as well as for your teammates, and this clarity is essential if you want everyone to be on the same page. Being transparent and setting clear expectations upfront also provides benchmarks that you can use to measure actionable results, therefore improving performance and enhancing communication. 

How Fellow increases meeting productivity and saves you money 

When done correctly, meetings can be the ticket to motivation, collaboration, and connectivity. When done poorly, meetings can cost your organization thousands of dollars. Not only are unproductive meetings detrimental to the well-being of your employees, but they are also a major financial burden. If your organization hosts only two hour-long meetings a week with five attendees in each meeting that make an average of $65k/ year, this would be a total loss of $16k. 

Based on a recent study, 550 leaders report their meetings are 16% shorter with Fellow, which equates to a total savings of $7,000 per year per manager. According to Fellow’s 2022 survey, 87% of managers surveyed stated that Fellow makes it easier to reference and track decisions which leads to more efficient meetings. Learn more about how to cut company costs and improve meeting productivity with Fellow. 

Are you shocked by these unproductive meeting statistics? 

Were you aware of how much unproductive meetings are costing your organization? Chances are that your meetings are costing you way more than you think, and now’s the time to act! Implementing the tips, tricks, and best practices referenced in this blog post will ensure you and your teammates can cut costs while making the most of every meeting. Interested in learning more about how much money you’re losing with unproductive meetings? Click here to try out our meeting cost calculator!

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