Why Meetings Matter

October 8, 2014

Think about conference rooms. The places in our buildings where we go to meet with each other.

Why? Because you – and your team – are probably spending more than half of your work day in meetings, if you’re anything like the managers that were studied in an IEEE report on workplace productivity. Up to 70% of our average day, in fact. Now there’s a thought!

If we’re going to spend that much time doing something, we should make sure we do it well – and give ourselves the tools to make the most of the time we spend in those meeting places – and get stuff done.

And it’s not just our time that we spend so lavishly on meetings. It’s our money, too. An estimated 17% of corporate budgets are spent on making meetings happen. (And that’s not including the opportunity cost of not doing other things.) Now, we all know that time and money are the two most precious resources for anyone, and any company – and that’s especially true for small and medium-sized businesses, who need to make the most of what they’ve got.

Now let’s talk about the workers. In a survey of 10,277 U.S. workers from all levels of employment, 97% reported they need conditions that encourage collaboration to do their best work. Anytime you get 97% of the people you talk to, to agree on something, you’ve got to pay attention. This is essentially a universal sentiment.

People like to work together. And why not? We need each other’s expertise and experience – not to mention energy and enthusiasm – to do our best work.

We need be able to work together – to collaborate – even when we can’t all physically be in the same room. Now, unfortunately, only a quarter of those workers actually felt like they actuallyhad the tools to collaborate effectively. So, we make do. With (audio) conference calls, and emails, and chats. But we’re not as productive as we could be.

Okay, let’s see if we’ve got this right:

  • We spend 70% of our time in meetings… and we allocate a good portion (about 17%) of our budgets on meetings, too.
  • We all want to “collaborate” with our co-workers… but most of us don’t feel that we have the tools we need to do so effectively.

Those aren’t very encouraging statistics.

But the good news is, we now have very cost-effective means to increase our productivity, to more clearly communicate, and to more easily share ideas with each other. And it’s not that hard, or expensive. You can do this for about $1,000 per room. Tely Labs recently published a white paper on this. It comes down to three essential business functions that every 21 Century Conference Room should have.

If you’re interested in learning more about workplace productivity, there’s a great little white paper you can get on our website, with practical information backed by research I’ve quoted in this post, called “Overcoming 5 Key Business Challenges.” The statistics I’ve referenced are discussed and footnoted in the white paper. It’s a quick read and I highly recommend it.