There’s no doubt that communication in the workplace is vital, but the quality of communication is paramount. Are your workplace meetings a productive form of communication? The answer is probably no.
According to a survey published by Zippia in January 2022, organizations spend about 15% of their time on meetings. However, surveys show that employees consider 71% of those meetings to be unproductive. Additionally, research found that approximately $37 billion is lost annually to unproductive meetings.
Unproductive gatherings typically have similar characteristics:
Frequent last-minute changes to start time, end time, date, or location
Rescheduling or postponing meetings subconsciously communicates to employees that the meeting content is not a priority. Employees mentally “check out” while in attendance because they’re already convinced that the information is not valuable. Calendar overlaps happen sometimes, of course, but rescheduling shouldn’t be chronic.
Unclear next steps and/or task delegation
Well-executed meetings with no clear next steps are not beneficial. If next steps are communicated but not clearly assigned to specific team members, the meeting is still not beneficial. A productive meeting ends with all employees clear on tasks that need to be accomplished and who specifically will complete them.
Mandatory attendance regardless of discussion topic
Very few meetings truly require everyone to attend. Employees who are only needed for five minutes of a one hour meeting spend those 55 extra minutes losing valuable work time. This causes a lot of frustration and unnecessary stress. If the meeting is too large or too long to allow attendees to participate fully, there’s a good chance that meeting should be an email.
Time-consuming in length or volume
And finally, it’s important to remember that too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing! If companies have too many meetings per week, or if the meetings themselves are several hours long, employees will start feeling forced to work overtime to get their daily tasks done. This often causes resentment in employees, and then they’re even less likely to benefit from the meetings.
Take an analytical look at your workplace meetings. Be honest with yourself. If you’re reflecting any of these negative characteristics, it might be time to rethink your meeting strategy and structure!
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