o one likes meetings heading into 2022. If you’ve been around the business community then you’ve likely already picked up on this. Possibly it’s because we’re becoming more reclusive as a society, but for some of us, it comes down to productivity. Meetings can suck away precious time from your workday, which spills into your private life, which spills into protecting your mental health. More and more of us are looking to break free from the unhealthy work weeks cultivated in the past.
In fact, we weren’t the least bit surprised when we read that the 34-year-old female Prime Minister of Finland was doubling down on the 4 day work week in her country. She proposed that the hours worked in a day be cut from 8 hours to 6 hours. Suggesting that work-life balance is more important to citizens than ever before.
“The hustle generation is slowly shifting to the shuffle generation and we aren’t mad about the virtual slowdown.“
There will always be the game changers, disruptors, and other buzzy, buzzword types who want to make you feel as though you aren’t doing enough and that meetings are necessary. However, in 2022 the majority of us are going to be reigning those folks closer into the middle. Especially when time after time, the meeting in question could really be an email.
From the unnecessary preparation required to run a meeting to the unfocused individuals whose only task is avoiding their actual job, we want to share our thoughts on when a meeting is required and when a phone call or email will suffice.
These are some observations about the evolution of the death of the meeting.
Meetings are for people with time to waste
More often than not, my experience tells me that meetings are called by people who don’t know what else to do. They call a meeting to drag out their calendar, and to make it appear that they’re busy. You know the types, they always have a mobile device hanging from an appendage and much like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, they’re always professing that they’re late. Not to an important date, but to an important meeting. With all the meetings these types attend it’s a wonder how any actual work gets done. They call meetings to talk about meetings and those are the kind of people the rest of us want to chill.
Ask yourself if it can be done in a phone call – even better, an email
Teams and organizations that are organized will have strategies in place to avoid meetings at all costs in 2022. Not only are in-person meetings a risk to personal health (still in a Pandemic over here) but they destroy productivity. We recommend developing a decision matrix based on whether the problem you’re trying to solve requires all hands on deck in person. Questions you might want to ask to arrive at this decision?
Is the information sensitive in nature?
Some things you don’t want in writing. But maybe you can talk about them on a conference call?
Have you thought through the situation you want to meet about?
Just because you haven’t, doesn’t mean that someone else hasn’t. Reach out to the people you want to meet with first to see if your question(s) can be dealt with over the phone or through email. It’s very tempting to want to collaborate when you don’t feel as though you have a clear understanding of a situation. We encourage you to set aside some strategic thinking time in your calendar. Articulate the questions you have on paper and often times that will give you a clear understanding of the tasks at hand. That way you won’t waste your colleague’s time with inefficiencies.
Do you need outside input to make progress on your project?
If you’re a home builder, trade, or sometimes even a designer you might need to physically be on-site to examine things. Make sure that a picture won’t suffice before you call in the calvary for a site visit. Sometimes a lot of leg work can be done through a visual. Remember, a picture speaks a thousand words.
Stop rushing and putting unrealistic time constraints on projects
If we can collectively slow the roll, then I think we will be better off as a community. Stop with the expectation that as soon as you receive correspondence that you have to immediately respond with a hyper-focused answer. Slow down, schedule some time for yourself to answer. My suggestion is to always reply to a customer indicating you have received their correspondence. I let them know that I will review and respond when I have had sufficient time to provide in-depth and thoughtful feedback. This in itself helps to stave off the need for an in-person conversation.
Overall, meetings are dying in popularity, partially due to Covid and the fact that many people are working from home and partially because of people like us who discourage them wherever possible.
Gone are the days of wasted time. I would much rather take off after 6 hours of productive work than be forced to include 2 hours dedicated to one meeting because when you add up the time involved for one silly meeting it chews into your day like a puppy with a shoe.
Superfluous time wasted on meetings:
- Commute time back and forth if the meeting is off-site
- Parking time
- Waiting for everyone to arrive at the meeting on time
- Drink and/or snack distribution
- Pleasantry and nicety exchanges (talk about the weather, the kids etc)
- Off-topic ramblings of the one person at every meeting with main character syndrome
- Actual time spent on the task at hand
- Closing pleasantries
- Chasing down everyone from the meeting to see if they followed through
- Calling another meeting to follow up on the meeting because – meetings
Consider this when you head into 2022. Are you going to be a meeting caller or are you going to get productive? Organize and schedule yourself OUT of meetings in 2002, you’ll be happier for it!
Get in touch if you want to learn more about our process!