Can COVID-19 change the way we have meetings?

Written by iMaven

iMaven provides a dynamic platform enabled by machine learning and matching algorithms to provide employers access to vetted, specialised recruiters to help them fill crucial jobs in an increasingly poor candidate market.

By now everyone has heard of and experienced “Social Distancing” where we either work from home and where possible, cancel meetings or have virtual meetings because of the real threat of Coronavirus.

The number of cancelled meetings without the world coming to a standstill should make us think: How necessary are most meetings and is it necessary for you to attend?

Doodle provided interesting insights with research they did with 500 employees including 100 Executives and 400 non-executives and these were their findings: 

  • 32% of executives and 21% of employees spend 20 hours or more in meetings each week.
  • 25% of employees have seen colleagues watch videos, take selfies or fall asleep in meetings.
  • 58% of employees have seen teammates send a text, leave the meeting to take another call or work on other tasks during a meeting.

Which begs the question

Why do we have most meetings if they aren’t that important. Further to this, Doodle found 59% of Executives felt they were involved in meetings where they didn’t really have to attend and another 60% employees felt there was no accomplishment in most of the meetings they attend.

In an article by Yahoo Finance, Atlassian workplace expert Dom Price, way back in 2018 realised his calendar was overflowing with meetings for the next 6 months and he was unable to slot in times for meetings like mentoring which to him is important. He cancelled all his meetings and informed everyone that if the “boomerang” calendar invitation came back, it had to explain what his role would be in the meeting, what they expected from him and what the purpose of the meeting was.

Price said about a third came back and he was surprised to see what role he was supposed to be playing in those meetings – a very different role which is why they were making him mad (his words were much stronger)!

The other two thirds were ‘sticks’. Sticks don’t come back when you throw them. Stick number one was the type of meeting that doesn’t need to occur, and probably never did. The third type of meeting were ones that needed to occur, but without Price’s presence!

The exercise provided Price with valuable time back to do important things like mentoring. Funny enough, the exercise also provided insight to other people about the uselessness of many of the meetings they felt they needed to attend and as a result, less meetings and better run meetings happened in future.

What about productivity? 

Another interesting fact about meetings – Ohio State University found in their research when workers have a meeting in the next two hours, they are 22% less productive because they feel they can’t get stuck into decent work with a meeting coming up. The solution – if you do have meetings, try to have them back to back but also make sure you have a few hours a day with no meetings slotted in or try to have some meeting free days. You’d be surprised at the work you get done.

Imagine what it could mean for your day to day business if you and all your staff can be at least 22% more productive a day!