“That meeting could’ve been an email” – we all know that feeling of disappointment after a long meeting that didn’t have any real meaning behind it. Meetings take time and mental effort, so it’s important to have them when it’s truly necessary (and yes, meetings are still a necessity of office life).
However, in many organizations, meetings held too often tend to become toxic as employees feel they can’t focus anymore. Truth be told, it’s rather difficult to focus on your work when you have to participate in one or two meetings every day.
As a direct result, organizations that support the meeting culture register a drop in productivity and employee satisfaction. Even more, according to a study published in the European Journal of Work & Organization Psychology, businesses in the US lose around $37b/year because of low productivity caused by meetings.
In this case, it’s important that we rethink meetings and come up with new ways to support collaborative projects without disrupting everyone’s workflow. Below, we listed the top three most common solutions, but each organization should try and adapt them to their needs.
#1: Practice Asynchronous Meetings
Nowadays, there is a wide array of solutions that encourage productivity for remote teams. We have Slack (for discussions), Google Drive (for sharing and collaborating on files), and platforms like Status Hero that help teams connect (regardless of location) and put together reports for the management with everyone’s current activities and progress.
However, not every business can afford to implement an extensive collaborative platform, which is why some may prefer a Status Hero alternative – the one developed by Geekbot is free to use and easy to understand.
In short, asynchronous communication cuts down the need to meet just to check in on the progress and talk with coworkers about common tasks. The platforms and apps mentioned above allow everyone to weigh in on the discussion on their time and according to their schedule (which is why it’s the go-to way for remote teams).
#2: Set Quiet Hours
It may sound weird to impose quiet hours (at least at first), but practice shows it’s a fantastic method to encourage productivity and allow everyone to focus on their tasks.
But what exactly does this mean? As the name suggests, you should have a daily interval during which no conversations are held in the main office area (in case your company has an open floor design) or, if there are separate offices, no one moves from office to office. If there are conversations to be had, these should take place in a conference room or in another location where your talking doesn’t disturb others.
It’s also recommended to discuss this with the team and identify their most productive interval of the day. Additionally, know that it may be difficult during the first few weeks, but once people get used to the idea, the workflow will change for the better.
#3: Have an Agenda & Clear Objectives
For those times when meetings are necessary, make sure to set an agenda and highlight the objectives you want to accomplish. Also, only invite the people that are absolutely needed in the room, to avoid tangents or dragging the discussion along.
In an effort to be a better employer, managers and business owners must take their employees’ needs and wishes into account. So, before you make any changes, ask for your staff’s opinion and identify the issues that keep productivity down (if this is the case). Overall, it takes time and effort to build the ideal team, but as long as you are open to suggestions, there is room for improvement.