Ineffective meetings are bad for business.
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the world of work leading to fundamental changes that companies and employees have to adapt and respond to. Hybrid work environments have now become the new normal, video conferencing is used more frequently than ever, and “Zoom fatigue” has certainly set in.
People have always joked about how dreadful and painful meetings can be, but that pain has dire consequences for teams and organizations. Every minute spent rehashing old agendas or going over action items that are never followed up on is a moment of creativity and productivity lost. Ineffective meetings are bad for business. One reason is that they are a significant waste of your company's time and resources. But, more importantly, they cause stress and frustration, which can impede employee engagement and adversely impact organizational culture.
On the flip side, effective meetings can inspire and drive people to do better. There’s no arguing that the art of convening has been lost. But the time has come to rediscover it. Your business and your people can no longer afford lackluster meetings that do nothing but drain the soul of your organization.
It’s time to rethink how you structure virtual and in-person meetings to prevent employee fatigue plus bolster productivity. Here are some ideas.
1. Stop the Meeting Madness
Nowadays, calendars are but a source of stress. People spend their mornings reviewing their appointments and dreading the workday ahead rather than actually working. Between all the meetings, phone calls, and emails, when are people getting down to work? There's a common misconception that "being busy" translates to productivity, which couldn't be further from the truth.
Meetings are still the de facto mode of interaction in companies, and plenty of managers feel information cannot be effectively relayed unless they call a meeting. As a result, meetings tend to lack a clear purpose, and if they have a purpose, too many people are invited. Find other ways to relay information and use meetings to make decisions, forecast, or plan ahead. You'll have fewer meetings, but they'll be more meaningful.
2. Change the Environment
When's the last time you held a meeting away from your office premises that wasn't a Zoom meeting? Strong teams don't happen by chance; they're built consciously by creating meeting spaces that bring employees together and foster a sense of community. If you're seeing nothing but glazed eyes during your meetings, you are long overdue for a team-building exercise.
Employees spend a great deal of time with each other in the office, but they don't get a chance to interact and have fun together. Meetings don't always have to be about KPIs and corporate goals; they're also an opportunity to make your employees feel valued.
Today’s employees place a high premium on company culture. They want to work for organizations that value them and prioritize their wellbeing.
3. Hold Fun Zoom Meetings Too!
Videoconferencing meetings aren’t exhausting because they go on too long; they’re exhausting because there’s a sense of disconnect that comes from staring at a screen. Still, you can’t do away with such meetings in the modern office. Sometimes you have to bring your in-office and remote teams together.
What you can do is schedule some meetings where the sole agenda is to have people interact and have fun together. Doing so will reduce some of the dread associated with meetings and can actually make your other meetings productive too.