When teams were in the office, meetings weren’t the only way to show what you were working on. When people walked by your office or cubicle, conversations were started and work naturally was a topic of conversation. When you ate lunch in the office cafeteria, conversations about the status of a project could easily come up in conversation.
With remote work, that’s not always as easy, and that leads to an increase in meetings that drain your productivity and lead to burnout. Here’s a perfect example. Let’s say you’re working on a new logo design. A simple check-in with your team that might take five minutes in the office is now a 30-minute block of time on your calendar. Plain and simple, people are in too many meetings today!
If you have an average of 4 video meetings every day, they’re likely spread out so you end up in a meeting for an hour, have an hour break, and then have another meeting. You’re so busy staring at your webcam and task switching multiple times per day that you can’t get any work done!
Here’s a statistic that will frighten you: According to a MIT study, the average company executive spends an 23 hours a week in meetings. This is up ten hours since the 1960s. 23 hours a week is a lot of wasted time in meetings. Often, all meetings are a huge waste of time.
Let’s look at top signs that your organization is addicted to meetings.
More Than 2 Meetings a Day
If you are constantly being asked to join meetings that seem to lack purpose, you really need to question if your organization is addicted to meetings. To achieve maximum productivity, employees should spend no more than two hours a day in meetings.
The reason remote organizations end up with more meetings than ones that are in the office is that some employees believe that they look productive when they’re always in meetings.
Meetings Without Agendas
Meetings should only be held if there is a clear reason to have them. Recurring meetings need to have a reason to, well, recur. If you do need to meet with your team regularly, try bi-weekly meetings instead of weekly. When you call a meeting, be sure to digitally share the agenda for the meeting, why particular people are being called (calling out their role and how it relates to the meeting), and what the expected outcome of the meeting will be.
If you can’t describe all of that information ahead of it, then the meeting shouldn’t be scheduled.
Meetings Without Direct Actions Afterward
When meetings are over, clear direct actions need to be agreed upon and assigned with due dates. If the entire meeting goes by and you can’t explain what the next steps are, then that meeting was a waste of time.
An example of direct actions after a meeting is over might be:
- Jim to provide research date by end of week
- Jane to email three logo options to the team by end of month
- Josh to communicate with customers about the pricing change by end of week
If you are the person calling the meeting, then it will be your responsibility to make sure the direct actions are assigned and completed.
How to Reduce Unnecessary Meetings
If you find yourself in an organization that is addicted to meetings, you are likely looking for ways to reduce unnecessary meetings to reduce stress and eliminate burnout at work.
The first way you can reduce unnecessary meetings is to stop replying ‘Yes’ to all of your meeting invites. If the invite is from someone on your same seniority level, then mark yourself as ‘Maybe’. If the person follows up and makes a clear case on why you need to be there, then you might consider going to the meeting. Otherwise, just stop going.
The second way to keep yourself from attending meetings that aren’t relevant to you is to start blocking off time on your calendar as ‘Focus Time’. If you need three hours on Monday to plan out your work, get started brainstorming, and get caught up on all your deliverables, then block off three hours so no one can schedule meetings with you.
Finally, talk to your company leaders about moving to a reliance on asynchronous work. With synchronous, everyone must be together at the same time. With asynchronous work, people can follow up on discussions and requests when their other work is completed. Asynchronous work is especially important when remote teams are across multiple locations and time zones.
Meeting Addiction Summary
Meeting addiction is real, and it hits remote teams a lot harder than in-office teams. By taking the necessary steps to protect your time, you can get time to focus on the deep work that your position requires. Sometimes they’re needed, but a lot of the time, they are a waste of time.
We highly recommend you check out our full guide to asynchronous work to see how Spike can help end meeting addiction. Ready to get started unlocking a complete digital workspace that contains all the tools you need to work? Download Spike for your device today!
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