Calculating Meeting Costs Could Save Time and Money

Posted by Kristin Arnold on October 8, 2010

I am always amazed at how easily managers can call a meeting, but agonize over spending a few cents more for office supplies.  If only they knew how much the average meeting costs the company, your team could buy that new color printer you’ve been dreaming about!

To calculate the total cost of your meeting, take your:

Annual Cost.  Multiply your annual pay by two to account for both your income and the company’s overhead costs (office space, equipment, support staff, utilities, benefits, etc.).

Hourly Cost.  Divide the annual cost by the number of hours you work in a year.   (If you’re lucky, take 40 hours/week times 52 weeks/year – 80 holiday hours – 80 vacation hours = 1920).

Meeting Cost.  Multiply your hourly cost by the meeting length, measured in hours.

Total Meeting Cost.  Add up each team members’ meeting costs to determine your total meeting cost. 

For example, to find the cost per hour for a $40,000 per year job, double the pay to $80,000, then divide $80,000 by 1920 hours.  The hourly cost to your company is roughly $42.  (By the way, if you don’t want to go through all that math, just take your annual pay and divide by 1,000 (40,000/1000 = $40.  This answer is pretty close!)

If you attended a two hour meeting, your attendance cost the company around $84.  Did the company receive $84 worth of value?

Assume six people attended the meeting, all around the same pay grade.  The total meeting cost would be $84 multiplied by six for a grand total of $504.  Gee whiz, you could buy a really nice printer/ice machine/whatchcallit with 500 bucks!

I don’t recommend calculating your meeting costs all the time, but it is an interesting activity to do once in awhile to remind the team how valuable their time really is and how to improve the meeting process.

Question:  Are you spending your meeting time wisely?

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