The average worker in the UK spends 213 hours a year – 26 working days – stuck in meetings, according to a recent survey. And at least a third of that time is wasted.
But meetings don’t have to be an unproductive, jargon-fuelled yawn. A spot of planning and innovation can ensure the meetings you do have are efficient, effective and empowering. We’ve come up with some useful tips to help make your gathering zing.
Is it really necessary? Ask yourself what the meeting’s for, and why it has to happen now. Is it being held because ‘we’ve always done it that way’? Consider if you need the whole team or can free up members to get on with other vital tasks if the agenda doesn’t concern them. Plus, is gathering round a table the most efficient way to communicate your information? Maybe all it needs is a well-worded email, verbal announcement or internal message post.
The meeting survey, commissioned by design company Moo, found the biggest time-waster was waiting for people to arrive, with setting up technology a close second. Avoid this by booking a dedicated meeting room with call conferencing facilities for those working from home or victim to commuting delays. Cafés with big tables are great but you risk noise interference and a lack of privacy. Plus, the coffee bill can add up.
Have you thought of ‘meeting hygiene’? No, this isn’t making sure Bill in accounts has washed this week. It’s simply ensuring the space you use is big enough, comfortable, ventilated, well lit – natural light if possible, and maybe even has water available to keep people hydrated and alert.
Having an agenda with a time limit and clear action points will focus minds – and help members plan the rest of their day and duties. The Moo survey found people talking over each other was a turn-off so sketching out some ground rules may help make your meeting go more smoothly and encourage participation.
People check their phones to combat boredom, and it’s no different in meetings. So insist devices are left on desks or collected in a ‘technology bucket’ until the end of the session. Better still, don’t make the meeting boring. We’re not asking you to be The Greatest Showman but make it a positive experience rather than an ordeal. Don’t do all the talking – invite input to create an empowering space for all. If your staff feel valued, they’ll want to take part again.
Some people advocate standing up during meetings or deliberately avoiding having a pee until business is concluded. The idea being, it prevents people relaxing into apathy and hurries matters along. There’s scant evidence to prove these tactics work but perhaps consider its goal – a reward. Whether that’s finishing work early on a Friday or free pizza once a month, it’s not about bribing staff to involvement but showing you appreciate their time.
Change the location. If you have the time, why not swap where your meeting takes place? Work.Life members are free to use any and all of our spaces, so why not mix it up and book a meeting room somewhere new – a change is as good as a rest.
Thanks to Work.Life’s locations across the UK, there’s always a convenient space to host a meeting. We have small and large spaces for every need, and technology to help you communicate your agenda in the clearest way. Plus, our online booking keeps it hassle-free for members. Free refreshments help keep people on the ball, including free pizza on Thursdays. Non-members are also welcome to book a meeting space – an ideal way to experience what we offer. To browse or reserve one of our meeting rooms click here.