Meetings are a natural part of a workplace, although how they’re carried out is another matter entirely. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, research showed that the average employee in the UK spends just over 10 hours attending or preparing for meetings each week. However, many employees and even line managers consider some meetings a waste of time, and time itself is a resource that should be spent wisely.
Office meetings are also expensive, even though they don’t cost anything to run. If staff are spending too much time unnecessarily discussing rather than actually doing, their talents are being wasted, which is financially costly for any company. We’re not saying that meetings should be banned of course, but the following tips might help you to get more out of them.
Up to 70% of office workers believe they are required to attend too many meetings in the working week. To rectify this, avoid over-scheduling meetings by imposing a cap on how many an individual can attend on a weekly basis.
Team leaders, managers and CEOs can take the lead by limiting the number of scheduled meetings and avoiding recurring gatherings. At your next meeting, it’s also worth looking around the room (or video chat) and deciding whether everyone needs to be there, as the subject isn’t always relevant to everyone in attendance.
Circulating an agenda prior to a meeting helps staff to prepare their input and accurately address the topics. Whoever leads the meeting should also outline the objectives in order to streamline discussion and keep everyone on the same page.
It’s important that attendees understand the outcomes and subsequent actions of a meeting too, as this can provide an additional platform for increasing productivity and empowerment.
Work calendars are often blocked out for one-hour or 30-minute meetings, simply because they’re a neat length of time. However, depending on what needs to be discussed, it doesn’t always need to be this long.
If a meeting naturally finishes a few minutes early, don’t see out the remainder with idle discussion. Instead, return to work right away and you’ll all benefit from less disruption to the day’s workload.
At the other end of the scale, it’s also a good idea to elect one person as the chair and another as a minutes taker. No one wants to be stuck in a meeting that drags on longer than it should, especially if key issues are left out due to poor time management.
It’s true that most meetings are scheduled, but ad hoc meetings can also provide flexibility for a company’s workforce. A meeting that was organised weeks ago may now get in the way of a team’s immediate objectives and disrupt the afternoon’s workflow.
It’s amazing how much can be achieved when you take advantage of a quiet afternoon by getting a meeting out of the way. All types of businesses rely on efficiency, and an impromptu meeting when everyone is in the right frame of mind can sometimes prove far more effective than one planned a week in advance.
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