How often do you find yourself sitting in a long meeting, thinking about all of the other things you could be working on? We’ve all experienced one of those before; and according to research, on average, employees attend 62 hours of meetings in a month, half of which, they consider as wasted time.
Research from Bain & Company states that companies and executives are spending up to 15% of an organization’s collective time in meetings, and that percentage has been increasing since 2008. With employees admitting that they often use the allotted time to daydream or do other work, it’s clear that not all meetings are created equal. The solution to fixing this productivity problem is to spend less time in meetings.
How to spend less time in meetings
The key is to manage communications and have more face-to-face conversations with employees and coworkers. Instead of crowding the whole department into the conference room to watch a boring PowerPoint, talking directly to an individual team member can often be far more productive.
But, if a group meeting is absolutely necessary, try having short and frequent stand-up meetings instead. Stand-up meetings are known to keep participants alert, engaged, and can even reduce meeting times by 34%. Having shorter, but more frequent meetings will encourage individuals to maximize output and increase the effectiveness of shared time because they’ll understand its value. According to the Harvard Business Review, shorter meetings are beneficial because people are attentive listeners when things happen at a fast pace, and “know that a single distracted moment will leave them behind.” This increased attention keeps individuals more engaged in the process.
Corey Wainwright, Director of Content at Hubspot even states that instituting short, stand-up meetings in place of formal status updates on projects "keeps everyone on target, prevents weeks of work being wasted preparing for meetings, and allows you to pivot quickly if you end up going in the wrong direction on a project." Everyone involved will save time, and people are much more likely to be prepared and focused for the discussion.
By spending less time in meetings, you can increase your productivity and make the most out of your valuable time.