Sometimes, getting everyone together in one room to discuss an issue or make a decision is the most effective way to collaborate. Emails can lead to a lot of back and forth and aren’t always the best way to share information or tackle problems. However, meetings can easily take up most of your workday and leave little time for actual work. Not having enough heads-down time to concentrate and complete work can be detrimental to productivity. Your calendar can become especially overloaded if you have lots of recurring meetings.
Whether you hold them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, recurring meetings are often a waste of time and frequently don’t have a clear agenda. Every minute you spend chatting at a pointless meeting costs your organization money.
When determining how to cut back on useless recurring meetings, it’s important to consider the purpose of the meeting. Projects, responsibilities, and organizational priorities tend to change quickly. The recurring meetings in your calendar might have had a purpose at some point but the initial issue that was the impetus for setting up the recurring meeting may have died down or been resolved. Or perhaps the recurring meeting simply isn’t useful and the same thing could be accomplished with a shared document, instant messaging, or emails.
Revisit your calendar on at least a quarterly basis to review your recurring meetings to see if it’s necessary to clean anything up. If you cancel the meeting, will anyone care?
When determining the cadence of a recurring meeting, make sure that its duration and frequency line up properly with its purpose. For instance, if you are meeting to discuss a near-term deadline, you may need to meet more often but for shorter amounts of time. If you’re meeting with your team to discuss long-term priorities, then it may make sense to have longer meetings less frequently.
When deciding who to invite to recurring meetings, only invite people who have something to contribute. Each person at the meeting should play a role and make a commitment to action items during the meeting. Ideally, they will leave the meeting with homework of some kind.
Having a meeting leader is also really important. The leader can either be the organizer of the meeting or another attendee who was appointed to be leader by the group. The meeting leader holds everyone accountable and ensures that they reach the goals of the meeting successfully. Some teams may choose to rotate the leadership role across all members of the team. This helps all group members develop their presentation and leadership skills.
If you find that you can’t completely eliminate a recurring meeting, try at least decreasing the timeframe. For example, if your recurring meeting lasts 60 minutes each week, try cutting it down to 45 minutes. If you have a 30-minute recurring meeting scheduled, try limiting it to 20 minutes. You may find that you’ll be able to accomplish just as much in a shorter amount of time. Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” The same holds true for meetings. The less amount of time you have allotted for a meeting, the quicker and more productive your meeting will be.
When it comes to meeting management, the most successful organizations strike the balance between giving employees ample opportunities to collaborate and giving them enough time to do their individual work. To maximize your productivity on the job and decrease the amount of time spent planning for and scheduling meetings, try using our meeting and resource booking software, Resource Central. Resource Central allows you to get a quick, visual overview of available meeting rooms at your facility. It is an add-on for Microsoft Outlook®, Exchange and Office 365 that syncs with your Outlook calendar and allows you to book meeting rooms and other resources, as well as order extra services from internal and external service providers.