Company meetings allow teams to clarify matters, communicate ideas, enable collaboration, and foster relationships. But when done incorrectly and excessively, meetings can eat up so much time, forcing your employees to work beyond regular office hours to make up for time spent on unproductive meetings. This can adversely impact their productivity and morale in the long run. That’s why you should find ways to reduce the number of company meetings. Here’s how to do it.
#1 Institutionalize a weekly zero-meetings day
Establish a day each week when meetings are prohibited, just like Asana’s No Meeting Wednesdays. Implementing this policy ensures that every week, all employees have huge time blocks within office hours to delve deep into their work. This time is especially important for tasks that require intense concentration and being “in the zone,” such as programming and writing.
Be vigilant about enforcing the zero-meetings day. Call out employees who still try to meet on that day. To set the standard for the entire company, don’t allow managers and members to meet either. Failing to strictly implement this policy will defeat the purpose.
If you think staff will simply reschedule meetings on other days of the week, then think again. Polar, a global technology company, implemented a zero-meetings policy on Tuesdays and Thursdays and found that the number of meetings scheduled on other days of the week remained the same. This means that rather than rescheduling, their employees were completely doing away with meetings that used to be scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When they saw how productive they were on zero-meeting days, they became less inclined to overload their other workdays with meetings.
#2 Require agendas before each meeting
Rather than having the entire team attend recurring meetings, only require those who need to discuss an issue or decide on something. This will allow the rest of the team to focus more on their tasks.
To do this, make sure the meeting’s organizer sends the agenda at least 24 hours before the meeting. This gives everyone enough time to determine whether they can or cannot skip it. This also ensures that its participants will come prepared. If the organizer fails to send the agenda by that time, then cancel or reschedule the meeting.
Requiring an agenda will not only leave you with fewer meetings, but it will also keep meetings on track and keep them short. If the meeting starts to go beyond its agenda, then set another meeting to tackle that topic.
#3 Utilize project management and communication apps
Project managers often organize status update meetings to get everyone to report their progress in relation to deadlines and goals. You can eliminate such meetings by leveraging technology.
Project management tools, such as Trello and Basecamp, enable employees to see how the whole team is doing with their individual tasks. They can also use these apps to pass along the project to the next person.
If team members have questions, they can use team chat tools, like Skype and Slack, to directly reach out to individuals or groups rather than gathering everyone in a meeting. In fact, users of Slack report 23% fewer meetings after adopting the app.
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