Boost productivity and stop wasting man hours in meetings. Starting from now …

Totalling the cost of paid employees sitting in meetings for hours vs. effective productivity was a hot topic pre-Covid, however it’s not one that’s gone away despite people working from home.

So much psychology has been poured into the correct procedures to boost productivity, with the ‘future of work’ spawning many worldwide conferences and consultants offering their services to fix the problem of solving problems in or outside of the meeting room.

To pull people from their task-lists to congregate within a meeting room to discuss a way of moving forwards within an industry actually sounds proactive, yet if these meetings are mismanaged with no clear form of action to be taken ascertained, it’s become a very expensive way of making people late on their task lists.

Why do we even have meetings?

Many would say for feedback on how a particular campaign is going. Others would say to discuss solutions to problems – some would say to air problems in the first place.

A meeting is a discussion to ascertain how to move forwards on a particular issue.

Execution of work comes outside of the meeting arena. It’s important not only to remember this but to enforce it within the team. Your staff need to be out of meetings long enough to still be able to do their task list. Endless zoom meetings at the moment are having a detrimental effect on staff members working from home who don’t have enough hours in the day offline to actually execute their day job.

Anything and everything is being collated into the ‘meetings’ category but is that correct?

It’s so easy to say ‘let’s have a meeting about that’, however even the word ’meeting’ can conjure up quite dull and flat thoughts. If you’re a leader looking to inspire, take the time to delve into the different functions that a group of your staff can achieve. It can be quite powerful to do this – there are succinct differences between each ‘get together’ which are the opposite of dull and flat. Start renaming all of the various options and you might actually start getting excited about running them yourself.

Staff strategy days aren’t meetings, neither are ideas blasting sessions when working on a particular project.

Meetups – what are these to you? Quiz and a coffee on a Friday or a quick ten minute ideas blast?

A daily or weekly huddle can be organised in a regular fashion to gee up the team. Freelancing within many agencies and companies, I’ve borne witness to many teams do this at the start of the day, to do it well it requires the leader of the team to prepare a quick run through of what projects are working on, notifications of any staff events/milestones and wish everyone well.

This can be a great thing to do for company culture, especially if you’re noticing that your company is getting more and more segmented into the various staffing genres. If your company has or is growing at a dramatic rate it encourages people to realise that there’s more sides to the business that need to be contemplated and brought into the picture. They may take more consideration of how their role affects others. It’s also good for the CEO to be seen at these where possible.

With task management systems and Zooms taking over from physical meetups, the rules pertaining to progressive meetings still apply. If the goal is not to waste valuable productivity time by hoarding your staff into one place, likely disrupting their already extensive to-do list, follow this method for bossing your next company meeting:

Everyone in the company should be clear on the rules and formation for requesting and delivering a meeting.

The meeting should be planned with at least 48 hours notice

An email/task created should be sent around to the members asking them to confirm. Inside the memo it should list the main bone of contention and the need for each participating team member

The organiser should think carefully who to invite. Only members of vital importance and relevance must attend. Feedback can be fed down the chain or up where needed. For feedback to be effective, notes of minutes must be taken. If staff member’s are stuck on time for typing this up, use a voice recording and transcribing system such as to expedite the process

A time must be set for the meeting. Jason Shah, founded on the basis that meetings only ever needed to be ten minutes long. Speed talking solutions. OK perhaps sometimes that won’t be long enough. Instead, ensure that each staff member attending knows that they have a specific amount of time to talk and share their solutions. It will make them hone their concepts beforehand and really help them to consider options to drill down on within their time frame.

If all else fails when you’re back in the office …

Stand up meeting room tables – the psychology behind this one is simple: humans love to sit. So place them in a situation whereby they can only return back to their beloved office chair once they’ve resolved whatever situation is on-hand and the meeting will naturally run faster.

Cherry Martin

Cherry Martin

Cherry is Associate Editor of Business Matters with responsibility for planning and writing future features, interviews and more in-depth pieces for what is now the UK’s largest print and online source of current business news.

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