You arrive downtown after your daily morning commute via BART and Muni. The 10-minute walk through crowded San Francisco sidewalks provides time to devise your morning schedule. But you walk into the office at 7:45 a.m., fire up the laptop, and immediately see an email calling for an 8 a.m. meeting. The departmental meeting is at 10:30 a.m., followed by the company-wide Monday morning meeting at 11:30 a.m.
The foregoing scenario may sound ridiculous. But it's the reality in many offices. Communications technology firm Barco found in a 2018 survey that the average office worker spends eight hours per week in meetings. Top-level executives spent 23 hours per week in meetings, according to a study published in the MIT Sloan Management Review.
Workers are less engaged in their normal tasks as a result. Many workers expressed frustration with meeting technology. They expect something to go wrong like bad connections and software malfunctions. The 2019 Doodle State of Meetings report estimates that poor organization and bad technology related to meetings costs U.S. businesses $399 billion annually. Most meetings are spontaneous, without agendas. The lack of clear objectives leads to inefficiency and frustration among attendees.
Meetings are a fact of business. They are especially important to companies with a majority of their employees telecommuting. But your company is bleeding profits if arguments, bad technology and complaints dominate meeting time. Here are four ways to streamline your meetings.
One day per week should be designated meeting free. The only time this rule should be violated is for urgent business involving clients. Workers know that day is for uninterrupted progress on their normal tasks. Asana and Facebook both have no-meeting Wednesdays. Some companies block off hours each day that prohibit meetings. Asana wrote on its blog that productivity on other days of the week increased as a result of it's No Meeting Wednesdays.
All meetings should have beginning times and end times. Open-ended schedules lead to long, unproductive meetings that take workers away from their normal tasks. The most important items should be covered first. That way if you run out of time, the meeting is still productive. Make certain meetings start on-time whether everyone is present or not. Some companies make examples of stragglers by locking the door at the start of meetings. That may be harsh. But it encourages punctuality and respect for others' time.
It isn't always necessary for an entire team to participate in a meeting. Ask each worker to submit a few sentences as to what they expect to accomplish in forthcoming meetings. Those with ambiguous responses should not be required to attend. These individuals get the most frustrated for unnecessary workflow interruptions. Active participants ensure productive meetings.
Make your conference rooms welcoming places. Upgrade your conference room furniture and meeting room design to fit your brand. Accounting and law firms should stick to dark and neutral color schemes to convey professionalism. Technology and startup firms can get creative with color schemes to inspire creativity and collaboration.
Eco Office designs and furnishes conference rooms that fit your company culture and budget. Give us a call today at 408-437-1700 to speak to one of our project managers.