Meetings help bring people together and make sure everyone is on the same page. But having too many meetings can cause more problems than they’re supposed to prevent. Overloading meetings can drain people’s energy and destroy morale.
The purpose of meetings is to help people complete their work, but sometimes they actually prevent them from completing tasks. So what should you do if your employees are overloaded with meetings?
Declare “civil bankruptcy”
The Harvard Business Review surveyed 182 senior executives about how many meetings they had and what they thought of them. The review found that 65% said meetings kept them from finishing their work. 71% said their meetings weren’t productive, and 62% said meetings didn’t bring the team together.
If you see that your employees are overwhelmed with the number of meetings per week, it’s time to reduce the schedule to nothing. In other words, ruin your work schedule. After each meeting is cancelled, carefully assess the scope and purpose of each meeting you have eliminated. Asana, a collaborative organization software, calls this “doomsday meeting.”
Do not add any meetings to the calendar until you have determined that they are essential.
Productivity improves with fewer meetings
Employee productivity increases when there are fewer meetings. For example, the Harvard Business Review surveyed 76 companies and found that productivity was 71% higher when meetings were reduced by 40%.
Fewer meetings allow workers to be more autonomous. They now have time to write down their “to-do lists” and stay on top of messages or emails.
How to Eliminate Meetings
Before a meeting is scheduled, the first question should be, “What is the purpose?” If it’s just disseminating information, there are other, less intrusive ways to do it without killing time. And if there’s no specific goal, drop the meeting and send an email.
You also need to ask yourself if everyone in the meeting really needs the same information to do their jobs. For example, does the sales manager need to know what’s going on in the IT department? It can be just a conversation or a Slack email.
Asynchronous communication sometimes does better than a synchronous meeting. A synchronous meeting is scheduled so everyone has to be there at the same time. This can be a face-to-face meeting or a videoconference. But asynchronous communication like email, a project management tool, or even a messaging app allows employees to access information on their terms. The goal is always achieved, but time is not wasted sitting in a meeting.
If you must have meetings, schedule at least one day a week without a meeting. For example, make it a policy to have a “no-meeting Wednesday” or a “no-meeting Friday.” This will be the one day of the week when you are likely to be assured of peak productivity.
Use project management software
Project management software helps your employees track projects, meet deadlines, and meet budgets. The software is a great way for employees to communicate without having to meet in person. Plus, communication and follow-up happens in real time, which is more productive than stopping productivity to have a meeting.
There are many tools available that can meet all needs and budgets.
What meetings remain
Some meetings need to be organized to keep people in a team spirit and to achieve goals. But before you start a meeting or ask one of your managers to lead a meeting, make sure there’s an agenda. Everyone should receive this agenda before the meeting in order to prepare.
Agendas keep meetings on track. A sales item meeting can be hijacked quickly over IT issues if an agenda is not developed and kept up to date.
There are other meetings, such as a weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one with key employees, that should be kept.
Brainstorming or innovation meetings may also be necessary. But be sure to set clear goals for a brainstorming session. You’re here to come up with new advertising ideas, not to complain about what’s wrong with the business. Be sure to be clear that employees should come up with ideas that can be discussed. Again, have an agenda, although it can be looser, to keep the meeting on track.
A refresher meeting is often requested. If there are any changes in a company’s goals, plans or budgets, these should be communicated in person. Be sure to be clear and organized with the information. Allow time for questions and comments.
Project details do not need to be discussed in a meeting. These should be left to written communication so that everyone is always on the same page. When it’s time to develop them, they can be discussed in an update meeting.
Bankruptcy Calendar This is just the beginning
Declaring bankruptcy on your calendar is just the start of eliminating unnecessary meetings. Once you’ve cleared all meetings from your calendar, restore only what’s absolutely necessary to run your business or department.
When you have a meeting, make sure it’s scheduled, with an agenda and a time limit. Eliminating time-consuming meetings will allow your employees to become more productive.
The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or construed as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or other personal finance advice. Epoch Times assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.