Efficiency is one of the most important assets of any business. The ability to be productive and make good use of time and resources is critical for a company's success long term, and important for maximizing profits. To optimize efficiency, many companies will dedicate time, resources, and even employees to making sure that everything is accounted for. Ironically enough, while companies often hold meetings with the intention of increasing efficiency and productivity, meetings often have the opposite effect. Here are five reasons why your company should have fewer meetings.

When your employees are sitting in a conference room taking notes, they are not doing work. Even a thirty minute meeting can have drastic negative impacts on a company's productivity. If you hold a thirty-minute meeting and you have thirty employees which attend, that accounts for a loss of 15 hours of work. That's almost two full business days. Thus, when you are planning meetings you need to make sure that they are worth the loss of productivity.

Unless they are directly impacting the business or are necessary, meetings can be a costly waste of time. Especially when a large portion of your staff are tied up in meetings that last over an hour, a significant amount of work can be lost. In fact, office workers spend an average of four hours per week in meetings. That's four hours that could have been spent improving or growing the company. This is no secret to workers. A survey on Salary.com showed that almost 50 percent of workers agree that meetings are the biggest time-waster they experience at work.

1. The benefits aren't always worth it

The goal of meetings is to enable information to be shared amongst an entire group of people at once. If the information is valuable, and changes are made or knowledge is gained as a result, then the meeting might be worth it. Too often, however, the information that is shared isn't necessarily valuable. Management often fails to accurately estimate how much information their employees already know, and also what information they need to know. According to Business Credit Workshop, "Sometimes, the information shared in meetings has little to no impact on the knowledge gained or productivity of the workers. Holding meetings might not just be a waste of time for the employees who attend, it can also be a waste of time for the manager who holds it. If employees don't show up, or if the direction of the meeting isn't succinct, then the meeting could be damaging for the people hosting it."

2. They can be an inefficient use of time

What is the goal of the meeting you are hosting? Without a direct goal and agenda, meetings can be an utter waste of time. The goal must be clearly introduced and established at the beginning of the meeting, and must involve all of the parties of the meeting. There are several well-qualified reasons to have a meeting. Such reasons include making a decision that requires the agreement of multiple parties, allowing people to update each other on their activities, enabling discussion on a topic that requires the view points of other people, and informing a group about the status or update of an activity. Meetings held for reasons outside of this can often be omitted.

3. They can often be replaced by individual dialogues or emails

Before you hold a meeting you should ask yourself: could I relay the same information in an email? If the answer is yes, than an email is your best option. Before wasting your time as well as the time of your colleagues and coworkers, consider the most effective way of delivering the information. Does everyone need to be present at the meeting? Would it have the same effect if you relayed the information to 5 people who then told it to 50? Consider the possibilities of spreading information that don't require the time allocation of a meeting. Email is a very effective and easy way to delegate tasks, provide updates, share thoughts, and inform a large group of people. Also, you can spread information via chain of command. Telling your subordinates to inform their employees of the updates enables you to spread information without requiring the physical presence of everyone in a meeting.