Meetings, in general, are intended to boost productivity and efficiency. They’re an inevitable part of our everyday working life. If everyone is on the same page, even the most hard tasks can be accomplished.
Here’s the ugly truth: In 2020, professionals spent 158 hours in unnecessary meetings, according to research from work management platform Asana. Now brace yourself because the numbers that you are going to see may hurt your brain.
- 71% of professionals waste time every week due to unnecessary/canceled meetings.
- 67% of the respondents of a recent survey done by LinkedIn News Asia say they’re having way too many meetings.
To make matters worse, 2020 brought an increase of 13.5% in the number of meetings each person attends, even if all/ most meetings were moved online and virtual meetings are far more tiring than real-life ones. On top of everything, this is expensive: the salary cost of an hour-long meeting with five attendees (from specialist to director level) is $338!
Recently, Livit got selected as a Great Place To Work®, and our meeting culture is a big part of why we’ve been certified as a great workplace. One of our teams describes our meetings as productive, insightful, casual, efficient, light, and exciting. Does this sound strange to you?
At Livit, not everything has to be a meeting. A few reasons people have a meeting are to give status updates, brainstorm ideas, and solve a problem. Every meeting has always to have a purpose. The easiest way to find it is to do a “purpose audit” of all your meetings, including the recurring ones and the one-offs. For each, you want to understand the purpose and desired outcome. And if you aren’t sure of the purpose and outcome of a meeting? It might be a candidate for canceling. The truth is… 80% of meetings should not be meetings.
Alternatives to meetings
We’ve all had “Why couldn’t this have been an email?” moments in our lives, and that’s true–there are a few alternatives that save time and hassle:
1. Shared, collaborative document to brainstorm ideas
Brainstorming ideas is easier when everyone can share information in one place and give instant feedback. Create a document that serves as a blank canvas for your team’s ideas using Docs. This is an excellent way to source ideas, so you don’t need to spend 2 hours on a meeting just to get them. You can also do something more fun and engaging, like sharing a whiteboard using Miro.
2. Providing context and describing a problem or a solution using a video
This is another excellent way to avoid meetings. We all know that most meetings are made to describe an issue or to solve a problem. To make it more efficient (without having to invite people for a meeting), we can make a video using Loom where you can record your screen, voice, and face to create an instantly shareable video in less time than it would take to have a meeting. This is ideal when we need to teach a newly hired employee to rewatch the video when they need it instead of jumping into a meeting.
3. Sharing written updates
Some meetings can be replaced with written updates such as email, project management tools e.g., Asana, Trello, Jira, and you can also use a tool for internal communication like Slack or Teams. Generally, updates are short. It’s more efficient to have team members spend five minutes adding written status updates so others can read and comment if necessary. This alternative also allows team members to share the updates that work for them instead of interrupting their work.
Reinvest the time
We’ve shared some good alternatives to meetings, so now you’ll save more time by not having unnecessary meetings. The question is, what can we do with that time?
1. Get good work done.
Let’s face it, getting work done is the core of what we’re doing. We get paid by doing our actual jobs, not having meetings. The time you’ll have could be dedicated to critical tasks, such as developing new business opportunities.
2. Human/ social connection gatherings with your team
Social interaction and connection are quintessential human needs.
Learning is essential to our existence. Today, continuous learning is critical to keep pace with the changing world. That means you can use your time to brush up on existing skills or add new ones.
Read Efficiency In The (Remote) Workplace blog post to get proven tips on how to have better meetings!