Remote work has meant an increase in meetings among staff, managers, and executives. CEOs spend 72% of their average work time in meetings, while employees generally attend 62 meetings a month. Most employees (92%) multitask during meetings.
These statistics beg the questions:
1. How effective are all of these meetings?
2. Can we make our meetings more effective?
3. Can we reduce meetings/meeting times?
4. Are there ways for remote employees to connect without having meeting after meeting?
How to Reduce Meetings While Increasing Efficiency
If meetings are consuming your time and your employees’ time, you need to overhaul the entire process. Here is a “how-to” that will help you reduce the number of meetings while increasing the efficiency of the remaining meetings.
1. Create meeting policies
You likely have some basic policies surrounding meetings. Perhaps there is always an agenda and a secretary who keeps meeting minutes. Maybe specific daily meetings always cover the same area to ensure the whole team is up-to-date.
However, often our day is filled with meetings that don’t meet the basic criteria. Instead, there are several check-in meetings, coordination meetings, and one-on-one discussions.
Take a step back and consider: What is the goal of any given meeting? Build criteria that ensure meetings meet this goal. If a necessary connection does not meet the delineated standards, is there a better way to have the discussion?
From there, you can decide which meetings are necessary and which should be relegated to a different form of communication. Perhaps teams should discuss non-meeting issues on Slack or Teams; maybe they could record a video and use that as a coordination point for coworkers.
Whatever the method, the idea is that establishing policies and guides around when meetings are necessary and when they are not provides your team with a framework to use as they protect their time and complete necessary work.
2. Set a maximum percentage of time any one person can use a week for meetings
In a world of back-to-back-to-back meetings, it can be challenging to say “no” to yet another meeting. Even if you have a well-defined rule for what meetings are necessary and which should not be called, it is possible to have your days still filled with urgent meetings.
Decide upon a percentage of work hours one person can use each week for meetings. Then have employees block off the hours during which they focus best to get their work done.
3. Build processes and procedures for meetings
Now that you have established when a meeting should occur, it’s time to build processes and procedures around the meeting structure.
We can all agree that meetings should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Ideally, each part of the meeting should transition to the next, providing a timely ending and ensuring no meetings go overtime. The best way to accomplish this is to establish your team’s processes and procedures during their meetings.
For example, the morning standup procedure could be:
a. All attendees log in.
b. Team Lead A brings up the daily priority.
c. Team members share their status on this priority – and inform the team of any challenges they need team collaboration to overcome.
d. The team establishes who will work in collaboration for the day.
e. Team Lead B brings up the daily priority.
f. Repeat step c.
g. Everyone signs off
Meeting time: At the beginning of the workday.
Length: No longer than 15 minutes.
If the daily standup meeting lasts longer than 15 minutes, find out why. Are the leads bringing up multiple priorities, confusing employees, and making it hard to know what should be prioritized for the day? Is one employee overburdened? Is the time being taken up with scheduling minutiae?
Understanding what is going on in team meetings will empower team members to adhere to established policies and help their teammates.
4. Provide alternative spaces for coordination and communication
There is a myriad of remote communication applications that your team can use. These include Slack, Teams, Guru, Trello, Basecamp, Hive, Loom, and more. Pick the one that you feel best fits your needs and culture, then have one team member specialize in it. Have them take all of the training and understand every feature. This team member will be the advocate for getting others to use the tool and can share which training is necessary for a good understanding of how to use the app.
5. If you are still in constant meetings, refocus on your priority
I suspect that “having meetings” is not your priority. You have a job title, job description, and a set of responsibilities. Take a step back and refocus on what you want to accomplish. If that is not “having meetings,” then reallocate your time to push forward your one major priority. Say “no” to meetings that you aren’t providing a meaningful contribution to or block off concentrated time (at least three sessions of 90 minutes daily) to work on your one priority.
If you are looking for a way to grow your business without filling all of your time and that of your employees with an ever-increasing meeting-load, get in touch with Business Success Consulting Group. We are here to help your team use systems that make work easier and reduce the amount of face-to-face coordination necessary to get things done. Click here to connect with us.