30% of meetings never happen, and it’s costing business thousands

If you work in a major city and your daily grind involves lots of “meetings”, you might not want to show your boss this research. Well, maybe you might if you want to avoid more meetings!

New research by Norwegian meetings tech provider Synergy SKY reveals that regularly missed meetings are costing employers huge sums of cash globally due to the sheer number of meeting rooms that are being booked by workers, yet nobody actually turns up!

The industry assumed rule is that an organisation should have 1 meeting room for every 20 employees. Does that need to be looked at in closer detail? We think so.

When it comes to meetings, there is no shortage of advice on how to be more efficient when in them, or to make them work better for everyone concerned, yet there is almost nobody talking about the very real and expensive price of an employer providing a meeting room in the first place, until now.

Synergy SKY has delved into data from its Synergy of Things offering, which in real time monitors the usage and attendance of meetings booked onto a company’s internal booking system and automatically releases un-used meeting room bookings back onto the system. SoT also monitors attendance levels to make recommendations on whether a smaller meeting room might be more efficient.

The data reveals that in the average 8 hour working day, meeting rooms are fully booked out some 90% of the day, yet on average, 30% of meetings booked are “no-shows”.

Depending on where your offices are located around the world, and your real estate cost, the inefficiency of this behaviour is wasting huge sums of money that organisations could be using to drive their efforts forwards.

Synergy SKY’s data reveals that the average UK company with around 50 staff could be wasting over £7k a year due to this inefficiency alone. Businesses located in London are leading the cost wastage as you would expect at £17k per year lost due to no show meetings.

Michael Kellaway, Synergy SKY Regional Manager UK & Ireland comments:

“How many times have we all nipped into a meeting room the system says is booked, but it’s currently sat empty, and we say to ourselves “let’s grab this room quickly, if they come along we’ll find another”.

Our data shows there’s a very real reason for this. The core offering of SoT is it shows where to make meetings more cost effective because we allow 30% more meeting rooms to become available for people who really want to use them; allowing meetings to start on time and therefore allowing employees to be more productive. We won’t tell an organisation ‘how’ to save money but instead ‘where’ they can save money.”

The data below uses the average meeting room size of its customers of 20m2 and 1 meeting room per 20 employees to calculate the annual wasted cost of meeting “no-shows”:

City m2/PA 1 room 50 staff 100 staff 250 staff 500 staff 1000 staff
NYC £1,664.00 £8,985.60 £22,464.00 £44,928.00 £112,320.00 £224,640.00 £449,280.00
London West £1,287.00 £6,949.80 £17,374.50 £34,749.00 £86,872.50 £173,745.00 £347,490.00
San Fran £1,273.00 £6,874.20 £17,185.50 £34,371.00 £85,927.50 £171,855.00 £343,710.00
LA £999.00 £5,394.60 £13,486.50 £26,973.00 £67,432.50 £134,865.00 £269,730.00
Sydney £999.00 £5,394.60 £13,486.50 £26,973.00 £67,432.50 £134,865.00 £269,730.00
London City £872.00 £4,708.80 £11,772.00 £23,544.00 £58,860.00 £117,720.00 £235,440.00
Paris £845.00 £4,563.00 £11,407.50 £22,815.00 £57,037.50 £114,075.00 £228,150.00
Zurich £743.00 £4,012.20 £10,030.50 £20,061.00 £50,152.50 £100,305.00 £200,610.00
Moscow £704.00 £3,801.60 £9,504.00 £19,008.00 £47,520.00 £95,040.00 £190,080.00
Dublin £673.00 £3,634.20 £9,085.50 £18,171.00 £45,427.50 £90,855.00 £181,710.00
Geneva £630.00 £3,402.00 £8,505.00 £17,010.00 £42,525.00 £85,050.00 £170,100.00
Milan £580.00 £3,132.00 £7,830.00 £15,660.00 £39,150.00 £78,300.00 £156,600.00
Melbourne £559.00 £3,018.60 £7,546.50 £15,093.00 £37,732.50 £75,465.00 £150,930.00
Frankfurt £540.00 £2,916.00 £7,290.00 £14,580.00 £36,450.00 £72,900.00 £145,800.00
Amsterdam £475.00 £2,565.00 £6,412.50 £12,825.00 £32,062.50 £64,125.00 £128,250.00
Reading £465.00 £2,511.00 £6,277.50 £12,555.00 £31,387.50 £62,775.00 £125,550.00
Munich £456.00 £2,462.40 £6,156.00 £12,312.00 £30,780.00 £61,560.00 £123,120.00
Berlin £444.00 £2,397.60 £5,994.00 £11,988.00 £29,970.00 £59,940.00 £119,880.00
Manchester £423.00 £2,284.20 £5,710.50 £11,421.00 £28,552.50 £57,105.00 £114,210.00
Edinburgh £423.00 £2,284.20 £5,710.50 £11,421.00 £28,552.50 £57,105.00 £114,210.00
Bristol £423.00 £2,284.20 £5,710.50 £11,421.00 £28,552.50 £57,105.00 £114,210.00
Birmingham £411.00 £2,219.40 £5,548.50 £11,097.00 £27,742.50 £55,485.00 £110,970.00
Glasgow £387.00 £2,089.80 £5,224.50 £10,449.00 £26,122.50 £52,245.00 £104,490.00
Madrid £372.00 £2,008.80 £5,022.00 £10,044.00 £25,110.00 £50,220.00 £100,440.00
Leeds £363.00 £1,960.20 £4,900.50 £9,801.00 £24,502.50 £49,005.00 £98,010.00
Brussels £320.00 £1,728.00 £4,320.00 £8,640.00 £21,600.00 £43,200.00 £86,400.00
Vienna £312.00 £1,684.80 £4,212.00 £8,424.00 £21,060.00 £42,120.00 £84,240.00
Cardiff £302.00 £1,630.80 £4,077.00 £8,154.00 £20,385.00 £40,770.00 £81,540.00
Newcastle £296.00 £1,598.40 £3,996.00 £7,992.00 £19,980.00 £39,960.00 £79,920.00
Budapest £294.00 £1,587.60

Michael Kellaway also said:

“The data is striking when you consider that these costs are essentially fixed and it’s down to organisations to look at the cost wastage and decide whether they might look at re-configuring office layouts to optimise space for permanent desk space or look at ways of making more money from their under utilised real-estate. Hot-desking, co-working or subleasing space (if you have it) might yield a profit or indeed cancel out a very real cost wastage. After all, as the saying goes “a dollar saved is worth more than a dollar earned.”