The price of virtual meetings and remote working

For almost two months now a large portion of the UK workforce has been working from home due to the Covid-19 lockdown – at least those in office related roles which allow them to do so. Naturally, much of their time has been spent on video calling software keeping in touch with their colleagues for work updates, meetings and more.

During the lockdown period while many are working from home, it’s highly likely that many of us will be spending more time in meetings than usual, due to the fact that we’re not in the office and can’t simply walk up to a colleagues desk to discuss a project or task.

What’s the true cost of all those meetings?

The time we spend in meetings is already an issue for many businesses, due to the suspicion that much of this time is wasted. In order to dig deeper into this and get a better understanding of the true cost of meetings, the team at have created a meetings calculator to see just how much it’s costing, in terms of an employees salary and time spent in meetings per month.

Let’s say your annual salary is £45,000 per year, and you tend to spend six hours per week in meetings, which is just over an hour for each working day. According to the meetings calculator, this time is costing the business a considerable £474 per month. And there’s not only the cost to consider. The time spent in this example is almost a full working day, or according to the meetings calculator, the same time required to make your own home-made toilet paper!

But what about higher earners who do typically tend to spend more time in meetings due to the nature of their roles. An executive on £120,000 per year who may spend up to half of their time in meetings (4 hours per day), is costing an enormous £5,059 per month. To illustrate the time spent in meetings, the calculator shows that during this same period you could actually wash your hands while humming happy birthday twice, over 14,000 times!

Is that virtual meeting really necessary?

Commenting on the release of the virtual meeting calculator, David Richter, director of marketing at CIPHR, said: “This new calculator puts a light-hearted spin on the sudden increase of virtual meetings and chat that many organisations are adjusting to.” 

“Next time you’re about to send a virtual meeting request, think: could this be an email instead? Is every person on the invitation list genuinely required (or is there anyone important missing)? Will it really take an hour, or will 15 or 30 minutes suffice? And when you’re in a virtual meeting, respect your co-workers’ time and stay on topic. Equally, while chat apps are a great way for colleagues to keep in touch in an informal way, too many notifications can end up being distracting. If you want an answer to a question that’s not urgent, email may be best. And if you need a block of time to focus on an activity, change your notification settings to ‘do not disturb’.” 

He added: “Remember, virtual meetings and chat apps are just some of the ways to communicate information; for critical announcements, organisations might find it more effective to use functionality available in specialist HR systems like CIPHR.”

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