Are Office Meetings a Waste of Time?

Meetings are a part of life in the workplace. Necessary, unavoidable and omnipresent. Research in 2018 suggests that the average employee in the UK spends just over 10 hours attending or preparing for meetings each week. However, for many, meetings are simply deemed a waste of time, a resource that could be spent fulfilling their job role for the company.

Office meetings are also expensive. If staff are spending too much time discussing rather than actually doing, their talents are being wasted, which is financially costly for any company. We’re not saying that meetings should be banned of course, but the following tips might help you to make the most of them.

Avoid overbooking

Up to 70% of office workers believe they are required to attend too many meetings in the working week. Avoid over-scheduling meetings by imposing a cap on how many you attend on a weekly basis.

Team leaders, managers and CEOs can take the lead by limiting the number of scheduled meetings and avoiding recurring assemblies. At your next meeting, it’s also worth looking around the room and asking whether everyone needs to be there, as they’re not always relevant to everyone in attendance.

Set the agenda

Circulating an agenda prior to a meeting is useful for staff members to prepare their information and address the topics of discussion. Whoever leads the meeting should outline the actionable objectives in order to streamline discussion and keep everyone on the same page.

It’s important that attendees understand the evaluative outcomes too, as successful meetings can provide a platform for productivity.

Keep them snappy

Work calendars often only allow 1-hour or 30-minute intervals for scheduled meetings. However, we all know that, depending on what needs to be discussed, meetings don’t always need to be this long.

If a meeting finishes 15 minutes early, don’t see out the remainder with idle discussion. Instead, return to work 15 minutes early. It’s often a good idea to elect someone to take minutes and allow a certain amount of time to be spent on each topic of discussion. No one wants to be stuck in a meeting that drags on longer than it should.

Embrace spontaneity

It’s true that most meetings are scheduled, but ad hoc meetings can also provide flexibility for a company’s workforce. A team meeting that was organised weeks ago may now get in the way of the team’s immediate objectives and disrupt the afternoon’s workflow.

Perhaps an unforeseen issue needs to be addressed at the same time as the scheduled meeting? If so, why not consider calling spontaneous meetings at times that suit everyone in the team?

Capitalise on a quiet afternoon by getting a meeting out of the way. Small businesses rely on efficiency and impromptu meetings can add value to an efficient day-to-day operation.

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