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Is Meeting Culture Ruining Your Business?

“Don’t worry it’s just a quick meeting”. The invention of the email, or it’s modern day cousin, the Instant Message, should have by and large eradicated the need for meeting upon meeting, or even meetings about meetings. But for most organisations, it doesn’t seem to have had any effect whatsoever.

Ask yourself quickly, in the past working week, how much time was spent in a poorly lit meeting room, getting what you think is ‘loads’ done? Then ask yourself how much could have been done if that time was spent doing work, as opposed to being in said meetings? The average office-based employee spends 5 hours a week in meetings, and a further 4 hours a week preparing for those meetings. This equates to an average of 9 hours a week wasted. For most people, this is just over a full working day, or roughly 20% of the working week, where nothing much actually gets done. Ask yourself, if this was your business, would you want people working 20% less efficiently?

The common excuse for having meetings is that they offer a chance for collaboration between departments, or people who may not always work together. This may be true in rare cases, but how many times have you left a meeting and thought “that was useful!”. I would bet that you can probably answer that counting the fingers on one hand.

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When are meetings acceptable?

Despite the title of this article, it is important to highlight that there are instances where meetings are still *sometimes* needed in the office environment. Any scenario where there are sensitive topics being discussed (someone being handed their P45 for example) or a disciplinary meeting are worthy of booking a meeting room out.

One the occasion where you have a client or someone external coming into your office, then the meeting room is the sensible place to host them, over the sales floor or the kitchen for example.

How can you avoid wasting so much time in meetings?

If it is you that’s responsible for rounding up the troops and organising a meeting, next time you are about to – ask yourself “can I send an email instead of having a meeting?”. On most occasions, the answer is yes.

If you have a problem that you don’t think can be solved by a simple email, then the old-school solution of going over and quickly talking to the person/people involved is still a feasible option (your colleagues aren’t that scary).

If you work in a multinational or multi office company, and walking over to talk to someone isn’t possible, then 99.9% of businesses these days employ some kind of IM service for employees, which is just as effective as talking to someone, and in some cases, is more effective than the trusty email.

So, next time you are about to schedule a meeting – ask yourself, “do I need this meeting?”. Your boss will probably thank you for the time you’ve saved in the long run!

The best way to eradicate meeting culture?

Popular with tech companies and digital marketing teams across the world – Agile Project Management methodology is the fastest growing and arguably most popular methodology around today.

One of the core values of the Agile methodology is that things are done ‘on the fly’, and traditional meetings are replaced by ‘standups’. These standups can be compared to the huddle that football teams have before a game and are designed to be efficient and informative.

In most Agile standups, people answer the following questions:

  • What did I work on yesterday?
  • What am I working on today?
  • What issues are blocking me?

These give a clear outline of useful information as to what the team is up to, and any issues they may have. It cuts out all the waffle you get in a traditional, old-school meeting, and gets to the point, so people can get on with their work.

At e-Careers, we offer Agile Project Management courses for you and your business. We can deliver these courses online, in a classroom, or we can even come and train your team to get you on board with Agile. Get in touch today to find out how we can benefit you!

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