A rantbox

Meeting budgets: an idea to keep meetings useful

You need meetings. No really, you do. Your team has to line up, get and stay on target and decisions have to be made. The same goes with your stakeholders.

However, everyone knows about those meetings that seem to go on forever, have too many participants and/or seem to be designed to be perpetual, e.g., to talk for an hour, then schedule a follow up.

Anyway, enough bashing. To get some insight in the impact of a schedule - apart from sitting back and thinking about the (importance of the) subject and the people you're about to invite - I was thinking about some additions that could be made to a room reservation system (or wallboard in that meeting room).

When you are scheduling a meeting, and have an overview of the participants and the room you're about to book, it would be an interesting (visual) cue as to what kind of impact this meeting will have on your budget when the calendaring app shows a sum of the total of the hour rate of your meeting partners, times the length of the meeting.

This is a variant on the wallboard ticker idea that has been around the internet for a while ("Digital counter in conference rooms that displays running sum of TIME ELAPSED x HOURLY RATE of all people in a meeting."). You can always use both of course.

An extension of this is to have a monthly (or quarterly, yearly) meeting budget. To keep it simple, you can do it in person hours, or include a monetary budget, so you can do the hourly rates thing.

This should at least give some insight and pause when a meeting-happy person tries to get a bunch of people together. Let's hope it leads to more meaningful meetings, less time and energy waste and more happy colleagues in general.

If your scheduling or HR system refuses to support this brilliant extension, you could always consider the 'refuse' option when receiving an invite. Your boss pays you to get things done, so they could at least expect you to be focussed on that task.