According to Atlassian, 31 hours are spent in unproductive meetings and most employees are attending 62 meetings a month. The salary cost for all these unnecessary meetings? $37 billion. Not to mention employees actually have work to get done, so they will have to miss lunch, work late, or rush through projects to make up for the lost time.
The New York Times said it best: “The meeting culture that is dominating corporate America is unsustainable and unproductive.” Employees’ time is money. Where would you like to spend that money? Getting things done that benefit your business or watching your “money” sit in a chair for a couple hours listening to other people talk?
If you are guilty of holding too many meetings with your employees, you’re not alone. And you’re not wrong to value meetings – they can be a great opportunity to brainstorm, communicate face-to-face, build relationships, and provide feedback.
The problem is that too many meetings stifle productivity and engagement. How many is too many? There is no magic number – it all depends on your company and your employees’ needs. Chances are, you could easily cut down your meetings by at least 25% and make the meetings you do choose to have more effective.
Here are five easy ways to hold meetings with your employees that are quick and painless:
1. Instead of long, formal meetings, hold short, frequent, and casual meetings of 10-15 minutes. Have employees briefly explain what they’re working on and any challenges they are facing.
2. Give employees permission to opt out of meetings they don’t need to attend. Or, if they have too much on their plate, reschedule the meeting.
3. Have a meeting where everyone stands up. This will keep your meeting short since leg fatigue kicks in fairly quickly and everyone will want to go back to their desk to sit down.
4. Make sure all meetings have a clear agenda and communicate the specific action items beforehand. And, don’t go off topic!
5. Use a project management system to organize your company. You may be surprised how much can get accomplished with a good tool versus dozens of meetings and emails.
Employees shouldn’t dread meetings. They should look forward to brainstorming with their colleagues and interacting with their managers one-on-one. So, the fewer meetings you have, the more productive and enjoyable they will be.