Few people are happy when they see this memo from the boss, “Mandatory meeting at 2 p.m.” This means that you will disrupt the workflow for the day, and there is no way of knowing when the meeting will get out. Not only can they eat up a large percentage of the day, but they often don’t efficiently provide information and can feel like a waste of time.
That’s why many businesses have started to phase out meetings, or at least scale them back with the help of technology that can communicate the same information in a simpler matter. ‘No meeting Wednesdays’ are becoming a popular trend, and many officers are taking advantage of integrated communications systems to streamline their interactions. Here are some key ways to know if your team is spending too much time in meetings.
Exactly How Much Time is Being Spent?
Meetings can often drag on and on. But how much lost time is actually in these meetings? The answer might shock you, and more managers are starting to look into the numbers. You might already be tracking this data without even knowing it because many digital calendars keep track of the time spent in meetings automatically.
But if you want more detailed information, you might be able to attain it deeper in the data. If your business holds many phone meetings or partially-remote meetings, you might find vital information in your call analytics software. It might also be helpful to create a meeting minutes template to keep track of what business goes on in the average meeting because you might be surprised by how much time is spent on business that’s either irrelevant or repetitive.
How Necessary is This?
The next step is to decide whether the meetings you hold are essential or just a low-tech way to check progress and hear any questions or complaints. Too many businesses hold regular meetings simply because they assume that’s the way it’s always done in an office and are missing an opportunity to optimize their business.
Sometimes a formal in-person meeting will be the best way to get something done, and if you do hold one, it’s important to have clear guidelines before it starts to make sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to be accomplishing. Everyone involved should have a copy of these objectives before the meeting starts to know what they should be working towards meeting. Once the objectives have been met, send everyone on their way so they can get back to being productive.
Who Needs to Attend?
What’s the only thing worse than an announcement of a mandatory meeting? An announcement of a mandatory office-wide meeting where everything in the business slows to a crawl. Many people find themselves dragged into a meeting they don’t actually need to attend because the boss wants to keep everyone on the same page. This can be a worthy goal in terms of office cohesion, but there are often far more efficient ways to accomplish this.
If someone is in the thick of the project being discussed, they probably do need to be present for the nitty-gritty of the meeting. But many players can be filled in on the basics after the fact and get every important detail they need. This is another reason why having a meeting minutes template in effect before every meeting can be helpful. You can easily distribute it to the whole office so they’ll be aware of any changes in plans or policy without spending time in the meeting.
Is There an Alternative?
If it feels like regular meetings are slowing down your team, it might be time to look at modern alternatives. Some small meetings can be accomplished with a conference phone call or even a quick email blast without ever getting your team out of their workspace. A project management platform can make it easy to update people whenever they log into the system and make small addendums without calling another meeting.
Managers call meetings for a number of reasons, including an attempt to boost office cohesion, make people aware of a change in scheduling or policy, or hold a thorough discussion of the future of the project. The latter is the category where an in-person meeting will likely be the most useful, and cutting down on the other meetings by replacing them with tech-forward alternatives will make every meeting you call more efficient and helpful.
A manager doesn’t want their team to dread meetings. The best way to avoid this is by making sure every meeting has a purpose and is efficient as possible. Start today to make your office more productive than ever.