News and advice on management and the business environment — April 2016

A new app allows managers to calculate the cost of meetings ahead of time. Plus, six in 10 Canadian millennials plan to leave their workplaces before 2020, a new survey finds.


Our meetings are costing how much?

When the Harvard Business Review saw the findings of a report by management consultant Bain & Co., calculating the cost of one company’s weekly management meetings at a staggering US$15 million, it took action. The publication developed a free Meeting Cost Calculator, available on its website and as a mobile app, to easily determine the amount spent (and the potential savings) of any particular meeting. First, you select the duration of the meeting (in 15-minute increments) and the total number of meeting attendees, then estimate the annual salary of each participant (in $10K increments). And voilà! It spits out the specific dollar cost of the meeting (labour only; swanky locales, food or beverages are not included). The calculator also provides a rating, such as “Gold Star! That’s time well spent” or “Stop the madness! Make it cheaper.”

Working at the bar 


Taxes while you drink

Move over Starbucks, the bar is the new pseudo-office where laptop-wielding professionals are setting up shop. New York accountant Shane Mason has been offering tax services out of a Brooklyn cocktail bar, whose owner is a friend of his. “With today’s technology there is no real reason why tax work should be exclusive to an office,” Mason, 28, told the New York Daily News. “I spend a decent amount of time in bars and so do my clients — why not take them somewhere they are comfortable to handle taxes?” Plus, each consult comes with a free drink.


Millennials on the move

Six in 10 Canadian millennials plan to leave their workplaces by 2020, a Deloitte survey finds. In the poll of nearly 7,700 working college-educated professionals in 29 countries, 25% of global respondents even see themselves switching organizations within the year. Why the mass exodus? The majority (63%) say it’s because their leadership skills are not being fully developed.


How to get ahead

Want to climb the corporate ladder? Get a mentor. Eight in 10 Canadian CFOs polled by Accountemps agree having a mentor is important for career development, with more than half (56%) saying the greatest benefit is learning firsthand from someone in a role to which you aspire. Yet only 12% of male and 14% of female professionals surveyed say they have a mentor.


Late, but entertaining

With flexible schedules growing in popularity, being “on time” for work is losing its meaning, a CareerBuilder survey finds. Only half of the 2,500 hiring managers polled expect staff to be on time every day, and 16% say punctuality is irrelevant as long as the work gets done. But for now, employers continue to hear bizarre excuses for tardiness, including these doozies:

● I thought of quitting today, but then decided not to, so I came late;

● My hair caught on fire from my dryer;

● I was detained by Homeland Security;

● A black bear took a nap on my car;

● All of my clothes were stolen;

● A Vaseline truck overturned and cars were slipping left and right.