Picture this: you’ve just finished yet another meeting that went on and on, and now that it’s time to get back to work it feels like a huge chunk of your day is just… gone. Worse still, you don’t feel like that meeting even accomplished anything of importance. Unfortunately, this is quite a common scenario. A recent ViewSonic report showed that in the United States alone, an absolute horde of 36 to 56 million meetings take place every day, with over 15% of hour-long meetings wasting at least 9 minutes each.
So why is this? Surely no one wants to waste time or indulge in inefficiency, after all.
Oftentimes the root cause is a lack of trust within teams, giving rise to micromanaging behaviors.
Combined with ambiguous expectations and an over reliance on face-to-face interactions, it seems that we are regularly losing productive working time to meetings when an email would have sufficed. Of course, we at Resume Advisers are not the types to bring up a problem without a solution, and thankfully there are several strategies that can help curb meeting overload and enhance workplace productivity, so let’s not waste any more time and jump right into it.
One of the most basic yet effective strategies to avoid wasting time in meetings is to request an agenda before attending.
An agenda provides insight into how relevant the meeting is and it might even help the host realize when a meeting can be streamlined by intentionally setting goals.
Another strategy is to propose no-meeting days that can give employees sufficient time to focus on critical tasks uninterrupted, allowing them to achieve better concentration and productivity.
Additionally, embracing asynchronous communication tools can be a real game-changer. There are plenty of professional platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, which offer channels for real-time communication, document sharing, and keeping the team updated without the need for a face-to-face conversation. It’s necessary to evaluate the necessity of a meeting when planning one, especially if the same effect can be accomplished through a shared document, message, or email.
When a meeting really is necessary, it’s helpful to set aside a time block and stick to it. Even if you’ve already reduced the number of meetings or shortened their durations where possible, it’s important to set clear expectations. Not only to save time overall, but to make it clear to the team that if they can effectively accomplish the meeting’s objectives in the set timeframe, their own time will not be impacted.
This demonstrates respect for the working time of others, which also improves overall workplace culture and employee satisfaction.
By having trust in the team and fighting the need to constantly know every little thing, you can make room for productive work to get done.
Of course, as we all know, there always needs to be balance. Not everything can be resolved with a quick message or email, either. While maintaining this balance takes work, trial and error, and practice, we hope that these techniques can help provide a means to get started. By setting clear agendas and no-meetings days, embracing modern communication tools and platforms, sticking to time limits, and fostering trust in the team, you will see your workplace transformed for the better. It’s time to recognize that not all progress requires a conference or zoom room, but rather a blend of trust, effective communication, and purposeful collaboration.