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Money could be better spent elsewhere © iStock

26 February 2018 | Bradford Keen


A survey of 1,000 office workers across the UK suggests an average employee spends 10 hours and 42 minutes each week preparing for and attending 4.4 meetings, with 2.6 of those deemed unnecessary, costing the UK’s 5.4 million businesses about £191 billion a year.


The research comes from meeting governance technology firm eShare, which calculated the figure based on the Office for National Statistics average earnings data of an hourly salary of £15.71, and assumed a seven-hour work week.


On average, time spent on a meeting adds up to two hours and 27 minutes (one hour and eight minutes preparing for the meeting and one hour and 19 minutes in attendance), making the cost per employee £38.50.


With 6.8 attendees at an average meeting, annual staff costs per business work out to £35,395.36 per business per year, climbing to £191 billion a year for 5.4 million UK businesses.


“Even as an approximate figure, £191 billion is an astonishing amount to be wasted in staff costs, time and resource that could clearly be much better spent elsewhere,” said Alister Esam, CEO, eShare. “The template for smarter meetings must start at the top – board level meetings must be efficient, essential and better managed, so that meetings elsewhere can follow that lead.” 


According to the study, 70 per cent of office workers say there are too many meetings in a week, with close to a quarter saying emails could achieve the same results.


As many as 79 per cent of respondents say they could get more work done with fewer meetings while 52 per cent complain that they still receive a printed agenda and materials for most meetings.