Working From Home, Tip #10: Less Meetings

Am I crazy here??

This is going to get me on someone’s blacklist. I just know it. But the last one in our list is the most important one of all: Do everything you can to schedule less meetings.

I’ll say it again for the people in the back: Do everything in your power to schedule less meetings.

In a lot of places, meetings tend to be the junk drawer of office life. If something’s on your mind, add it to the agenda and we’ll cover it in our meeting. Ever find yourself thinking, “What would I have done today if I didn’t have that meeting? What project would I have worked on? What could I have produced?”

I know I’m going to get push-back on this. I know it’s controversial. I’m not saying we should never have meetings. What i am saying is that 90% of all meetings can be reduced to an email or a phone call. I’m saying instead of blocking an hour for a meeting—-why did we arbitrarily schedule meetings in hour-long blocks anyway??— only block 15 minutes. Give everyone 2 minutes to hear the problem or the issue we’re trying to solve, and 13 minutes to come up with 5 solutions. Then spend the rest of the day testing the solutions. There’s no wasted time. The energy level is high and the output becomes productive.

Think about it this way: Lets say you call an afternoon meeting that involves 10 people. ten is an easy number to do math with, so lets say 10. And each of those 10 people makes an average of $80k a year in salary. So for a 3-hour meeting, you’re paying more than $1100 for them to sit and talk.

That might be a great investment if the results of that meeting produces a revenue of more than $1100 dollars. Until you gain an ADDITIONAL $1100, you haven’t made your money back from sitting in just that one meeting.

Especially when it comes to longer meetings, I’d challenge you to begin to ask “Is there something else we could be doing for 3 hours that might produce better results?

Maybe it’s a 15-minute meeting, followed by 2 hours and 45 minutes of focused effort? Maybe it’s a 30 minute meeting followed by 2 ½ hours of research and testing?

Research shows that fewer meetings generally lead to greater productivity. Many meetings generally don’t move the needle forward or get things done that couldn’t be done with a phone call or email.

Oh… this is going to be controversial. People are going to say, “well, we’re working from home now.. don’t i have to check in on everyone and get their status report and have zoom calls?”

Well.. maybe. Or maybe not? Maybe it depends. A lot of us have been working from home for a while now. How’s that working? Has productivity gone up? Or down? Are you more motivated and excited about your work? Or less?

When we’re first forming our teams, sure! Go for it! Get those zoom calls, get those conference calls, get everyone on the same page… but as things move forward, don’t fall into the trap that everyone has fallen into for years, which is thinking that ‘more meetings’ necessarily means ‘more productivity’. It doesn’t… in almost everything that’s EVER been studied. EVER.

It’s important to only do meetings that absolutely move the needle forward. Maybe there’s a better way. Maybe it’s worth a shot.

What do you think?? Have I gone completely crazy here?

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