It’s no secret that most employees dislike business meetings. They tend to drag on for an unnecessarily long amount of time and eat into the time people have to do their actual work and are often surprisingly unproductive. That’s why lots of companies are thinking about reducing the number of in-person meetings they have – particularly as more people are working remotely now too. So if you’re considering cutting back on your team’s meetings without losing productivity, here are some ideas for alternative options.
Mattermost vs Slack vs Rocket Chat… in the end, it doesn’t matter which service provider you use; instant messaging can be a great alternative to meetings. You can ask questions, suggest ideas, or post information as and when relevant, with a record available for everyone to see if they just scroll up.
If you were planning on holding a meeting simply to give out information to your team, consider whether an email announcement would suffice. Of course, it won’t always be suitable – for instance, if the information is urgent or sensitive – but often, email can be a quick and effective way to disseminate updates. You can also include a note saying that people are welcome to come and see you in person regarding the announcement if necessary, or asking people to reply with confirmation they’ve read the details.
In many cases, a casual conversation with your staff can be more effective than a formal meeting, for example, if you want to improve your relationship with them or get some honest feedback. This isn’t the case for meetings where there’s a lot to discuss, or people need to prepare, but for topics that can be dealt with quickly, it can be very efficient.
Lots of managers hold regular team meetings as a way to get their employees to bond and work together more effectively. However, in reality, this seldom works. In a formal meeting, people are only focusing on work, not their relationships with each other, and hearing updates on different projects doesn’t promote bonding. Instead, try going for lunch or coffee as a team, where people can chat in a more relaxed environment and build genuine friendships with each other.
There’s no doubt that sometimes real-time communication is required, but there’s no reason it always has to be in person. This is particularly true when you have team members who work from home. In these cases, consider whether a virtual meeting via teleconference could be more effective. These can also cut down on wasted time getting coffee or socializing, keeping meetings short and efficient.
If you absolutely have to meet in person, which is, of course, sometimes the case, there are tricks you can try to keep meetings succinct. One of these is to hold them standing up (being mindful of any employees with physical conditions that prevent this). Because standing up for a long time is uncomfortable, people tend to keep their comments brief and to the point during these meetings, reducing wasted time. Plus, you’ll burn some extra calories, so it’s a win-win!