How No-Meeting Days Increases Your Teams Productivity and Job Satisfaction
Carla Corral Galeote •
Jan 02, 2024 •
4 min read
In business, meetings are indispensable for decision making, but at the same time, they also have a downside that is important to take into account so that they are successful and do not hinder the productivity or work of employees. Thus, this article delves into the actions to avoid in order to achieve good results as well as proposing a transformative solution: institute days without meetings of course, exposing the far-reaching benefits of this proposition.
Downsides of meetings
Business meetings are important and absolutely necessary, but they can also have a negative impact on employees. Here's why:
- If it has not been fully prepared in advance, it can result in a long and ineffective meeting.
- Some employees may feel obliged to attend, resulting in passive participation which usually does not lead to good conclusions.
- The common desire for constant consensus can affect employee participation if they have a different opinion, thus blocking their full expression and honesty in a pressured situation.
- An excessive number of meetings can lead to information overload that can make it difficult to follow up on decisions and carry out assigned tasks, low morale and personal motivation, as well as frustration, stress and overwhelm not only in working life but also in personal life.
- Distractions due to meetings can disrupt the work flow of employees which can lead to wasted time and difficulties in regaining concentration.
How to avoid being interrupted
The article called The hidden cost of interrupting knowledge workers" written by Piet Hadermann, gives some ideas on how one could act if one needs to concentrate while being interrupted while working in-office:
- Answers like "sure, I have no idea, but I'm a bit busy here now, could you email it to me so I don't forget?". Over time, a considerable number of people would stop interrupting and simply send an email immediately.
- Make a hand signal by raising your hand to try to block the interruption.
- Use sound-cancelling headphones to make colleagues understand that this is not the best time to interact.
If, on the other hand, you work from home, it is important to disable notifications of messages that may appear on your screen. In this way, you can choose when it is the best time to answer them so that they do not interrupt your work.
In the eyes of the interrupter, the interruption only costs the time one has had to listen to the question and give an answer. However, depending on what the interruptee was doing at the time, it can take up to 20 minutes to fully re-engage in the task, consuming about 28% of the interruptee's time.
Benefits of no-meetings days
Establishing meeting-free days in the work environment can have several significant advantages for the team and the organisation. For example, setting meetings only on Tuesdays and Thursdays can be a balanced approach. This rhythm has several advantages:
- Consistency and planning by knowing exactly which days to meet.
- Free start and end of the week which allows for a much more relaxed, positive environment with an uninterrupted start and end to the week contributing to a smoother transition into the weekend.
- Increased productivity through better focus on tasks.
- Reduced overwhelm and stress due to the flexibility workers can have in managing their time.
- Encouragement of creativity by being able to devote as much attention as possible to their tasks, generating new ideas and solving possible problems.
- Increased job satisfaction by having a good work-life balance.
- Improved decision making by having the time to gather information, reflecting on options and arriving at more informed decisions.
Additional considerations to bear in mind about meetings
Even so, it is very important to take into account the specific needs of a team and the nature of the tasks being performed. Some additional considerations include:
- Type of work: as depending on what or how it is, a more flexible approach may be needed, as well as longer periods of uninterrupted time.
- Time zones: depending on the countries in which employees may be located, changes or adjustments to meeting times must be made to ensure that everyone participates equally.
- Nature of meetings: depending on the work, the tasks and the team, more or less frequent meetings may be necessary to achieve the objectives set.
To conclude, there are many aspects that can affect both positively and negatively both a company and its employees, and it is for this reason that it is very important to carry out a good analysis of the team and its tasks, as well as to work beforehand on the content of the meetings. This will ensure good results, achieved objectives and happy workers.