Meetings are an essential part of work-life. They allow you to remain updated with current events within your team, brainstorm solutions to problems, and establish relationships with your co-workers. But like in an office setting, there’s also a thing as too many meetings while remote working.
Having too many unnecessary meetings can have detrimental effects on the productivity of everyone involved. These meetings cause stress for employees, as they don’t know which ones to prioritize anymore. And they take away valuable time that could’ve been spent working.
To avoid these instances from happening, here are 6 ways you can use to reduce unnecessary meetings and improve meeting efficiency.
Detrimental Effects of Having Too Many Unnecessary Meetings.
Before we continue, let us first talk about some of the detrimental effects of attending too many meetings. As I stated earlier, unnecessary meetings drain not just time; but the overall well-being of employees and their bosses. These detrimental effects include:
The most obvious negative effect of having too many unnecessary meetings is a marked decrease in the productivity of employees. Instead of spending time on their tasks, they’re stuck in long discussions that seemingly go nowhere. And by the time they return to work, they’ll be too exhausted to work anymore.
Too Many Meetings Can Be Demoralizing.
Aside from taking away precious time and energy for work, the stress of preparing and attending meetings can take away an employee’s motivation to work. This can lead to employee dissatisfaction and resignation, as employees find it more and more challenging to work in this environment.
Prepare a Schedule of All Your Meetings.
Let’s start with making a schedule of all your upcoming meetings. This includes your scheduled meetups with your team or client and the sudden, essential ones. Having one also helps you prepare yourself and the data you need to present during the meeting. A schedule also ensures you won’t have any appointments happening simultaneously to prevent any conflict.
One thing to note when making your schedule is to remain flexible. Remember, this is meant to guide you on what you need to do, not restrict you. If you find your meeting at 3 pm isn’t that urgent compared to the one at 3:30 pm, then maybe you can have the former moved. This helps you reduce unnecessary meetings and focus on urgent ones.
Know Which Agenda to Prioritize.
Once you have made your schedule, it’s time to sort it by how urgent the agenda of these meetings are. Knowing which ones to prioritize helps you reduce unnecessary meetings, which helps keep you from stretching yourself thin. Be sure to do this ahead of time; so you have time to think about your decisions.
After sorting which meetings to prioritize, it’s time for you to notify your client and co-workers regarding your decisions. Tell it to them soon, so they won’t be surprised by your decision and could adjust their schedules in turn. Doing this also prevents any bad feelings among you from canceling a meeting at the last minute.
Allocate Time for Your Meetings.
Time is a very short commodity these days. That is why you should ensure your meetings begin and end on time. And this is where your schedule once again becomes handy. With it, you can make the most of your meeting time and end as soon as possible.
Depending on your preference, you can split your meetings throughout the week; so you don’t exhaust yourself. Or, if you just want to finish them all at once and get back to work, you can set them all in one day. Whichever you choose, be sure you also give enough time for yourself to rest. You don’t want to burn yourself out now, would you?
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No to Unnecessary Meetings.
A key reason why you’re in so many unnecessary meetings is that you don’t say no to them. If you know the discussion you’re being invited to isn’t needed, tell it to your co-worker or boss straight to avoid miscommunications.
When saying “No,” be sure to say it as politely as possible, particularly with your boss. Being rude to your co-workers only results in bad feelings. Which may bite you later when it’s your turn to ask for their help. Try to offer alternatives to them, such as moving the meeting to a later date. Or explain to them in detail why you find the need to meet unnecessary.
Learn to Delegate Meetings to Your Other Team Members.
This one’s specific to team leaders or managers. A common mistake by bosses and team leaders is believing they should be the ones doing everything. You’re the leader, after all. People expect this from you.
If that’s the case, what’s the point of having your team then? If you can’t attend a meeting because of your work, why not delegate a subordinate you trust to go in your place instead? Of course, you should ask them if they’re busy first. If they’re not, you can then ask them to go in your stead.
Additionally, ensure the team member you’re entrusting with to attend the meeting can contribute to it. Not only will you embarrass your team member, but yourself as well. To avoid this from happening, be sure that the team member you’re sending is someone capable and trustworthy.
Consider Asynchronous Meetings.
One of the main benefits of having an online job is work flexibility. The problem is when your bosses still think you’re working traditionally. This is one of the reasons why you still have so many meetings, as your bosses continue to demand constant meetings at fixed schedules.
With this in mind, why not try holding asynchronous meetings instead? Asynchronous meetings are meetings where you discuss a topic over a given time, like a traditional meeting. The difference is that the participants don’t have to be necessarily present for it in real-time.
For example, you have a meeting from 2 pm to 6 pm. But you can enter and share your inputs at 4 pm instead. Your response can be a recorded message, chat, or even email, as long as you responded within the deadline.
With this setup, you and your co-workers won’t be pressured anymore to be present in meetings “in the flesh.” This is especially important if you and your co-workers or boss live in different time zones.
Just like everything else, holding meetings should be done in moderation. Too little of it, and nobody knows what is going on anymore. On the other hand, too much of it will drain you of both time and motivation.
That said, you’re not without options. Here are the 6 simple tricks you can use to reduce unnecessary meetings. I hope these tips will help you regain control of your schedule and have more time to do your work.