The meeting: it's an integral part of the work force. It's how people come together and get on the same page to achieve common goals. But how often would you say that's what actually happens in a meeting? Are people really participating, are they using it as a time to zone out, or are they simply distracted?
The timing of a meeting is essentially as important as what the purpose of the meeting is. Before you schedule a meeting with coworkers or even higher-ups, think about the time of day and consider how focused people will be. After all, getting on the same page is the overall goal. So depending on the hour of the day, employee engagement can either be a hit or miss.
1) The first 15 minutes of work
It’s hard to get motivated right when you get to work, and people tell themselves they’ve got all day to get things done. No need to necessarily hit the ground running, right? Exactly, so if you think a meeting in this time frame is going to get much of anything done, you're sorely mistaken. People need some time to get acclimated to being back at work. They need their coffee. Brainstorming isn't happening at this time.
2) The hour before lunch
All people can think about is the delicious lunch they brought, the delicious deli they plan on visiting, or the friend and/or significant other they’ve got a lunch date with. Instead of focusing on work, they just try to find a way to make the time pass until your lunch break. Ask somebody for an idea and they may blurt out menu ideas rather than project related goals. Okay, that's a hyperbole, but you get the point.
3) The hour after lunch
Since the belly's full, you’ve got a little grogginess in your get-up. People tell themselves they’ve still got plenty of time to get things done, and there’s no need to dive right back into it right after lunch. Again, sleepiness and procrastination are rampant at this time, so trying to get coworker's full attention isn't going to happen at this time.
4) The middle of the afternoon
That medical condition the commercial prescribed you — the 2:30 feeling. That's when people pat themselves on the back for being at it all day. Then they start feeling a little sleepy. Not like having a full belly after lunch, but rather like they’re just ready for the day to be over. They take a quick peek at the clock and realize there are still multiple hours left in the day. They're not going to focus in a meeting if they're battling a medical condition.
5) The hour before work is over
Much like with the hour before lunch, now all they can think about is the plans they have for after work. The TV show they plan on binging on. The dinner they plan on making or having delivered. Basically, their minds have already vacated the office.
So what does that leave us?
1. Mid-morning: Catch a person or group of people once they've settled into the work day, but before they get blinded by the upcoming lunch break. They've had their coffee, or whatever it is they need, and their brain is in full swing at this moment.
2. During lunch: Sure, it's during lunch, but it's less formal. People are more relaxed. If it's with a higher up — or if you're the higher-up — the conversation is more likely to flow naturally than in an intimidating corner-office setting.
3. Casual collisions: Rather than setting up an actual meeting, catch someone in the elevator or on the stairs and throw an idea at them. See if that starts a dialogue. That may be easier than trying to find time in everyone's busy schedule anyway. Pop by their desk and just throw some thoughts out there.
Do you agree?
What times have worked best for you or your workplace when scheduling meetings? Comment below with your thoughts — whether you agree or disagree.