3 Ways to Replace Unproductive Meetings

Emilio Adán Soriano
Updated Mar 23, 2024
7 min read

Why am I here?

Was it really necessary to gather for this?

Has it served any purpose?

If you have asked yourself these questions, you have most likely experienced the nightmare of an unproductive meeting.

When you get down to the facts, the scenario becomes quite daunting. According to a study from Harvard University, 70% of work meetings are considered absolutely pointless.

For this study, hundreds of managers and employees were interviewed, yielding the following results:

Unproductive meetings drain employees’ energy, expose poor team dynamics, and negatively impact their work. We, as much as you, want this to change. Thus, in this article, we share with you three different strategies that will help you improve the efficiency of your meetings and enhance team collaboration.

Why meetings become unproductive

If I had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings'. Dave Barry

The problem with meetings is simple yet devastating. Here are the top reasons that increase meeting unproductivity:

These are just a few examples, as the list can go on.

Here is what you can do to help alleviate meeting overload and eliminate pointless meetings:

Go async to avoid unproductive meetings

Synchronous meetings can often be a hindrance due to conflicting schedules and diverse time zones. Besides, they often become highly unproductive because they rely on participants' reactions instead of on their reflections.

This means, that when people are solely reacting and basing their decisions on first gut feelings, discussions tend to be unproductive, as people have not yet had the chance to think the issue through.

To overcome this challenge, you can consider embracing asynchronous meetings and consequently redefining how team members come together.

Benefits of async meetings

Here are our top-3 reasons to consider going async to overcome unproductive meetings:

Best practices to incorporate async meetings into your workflow

Although we are increasingly mastering our way around digital and remote solutions, here are a few best-practices for you to take into account when leading async meetings:

At Workjoy:

We use the meeting feature in the Workjoy app to easily schedule async meetings.

Every meeting always has a title - What the meeting is about - as well as an introduction - Why we are having this meeting. There is a clearly defined time-frame for the meeting to occur and we resort to a structured agenda to navigate the meeting.

The discussions happen proactively and on the commenting section of the meeting.

To learn more about async-meetings see: 7 Best Tools for Asynchronous Meetings, Successful Asynchronous Meetings - A Practical How-To

Do async check-ins

Transparency should be a fundamental value for your company as it fosters trust and team collaboration. To improve transparency, you can implement daily and weekly async check-ins.

These records are a digital map of what your team does every day and each week. You can use them to document tasks, achievements, and collaboration among team members. All this information can then be used to create reports. Project management tools can help you with this, making everything clear and more efficient.

Benefits of async check-ins

Here are our top-3 reasons to consider the use of daily and weekly async check-ins:

Best practices to use daily and weekly async check-ins

Here is what you can do to ensure efficiency when creating async check-ins:

At Workjoy:

We believe leaders should not be the bottleneck of their team’s work nor should they contribute to an unproductive environment.

Thus, at Workjoy, leaders use task status to quickly know where their team stands without interrupting them - a simple check of status can remove an entire status meeting. Plus, if there is the need to realign, leaders can do it through the task’s commenting section.

This ensures discussions keep organized and focused.

Focus your communication on tasks and projects

Effective communication is the cornerstone of success at any company. If your goal is to be productive, meetings and communication overall need to have a clear focus. Thus, we advise you to adopt task and project-based communication strategies.

Benefits of task and project-based communication

Here are our top-3 reasons to consider when trying to eliminate invaluable rambling and building a focused communication culture:

Best practices to guarantee focused communication

Here is what you can do to ensure you stay on track and keep your conversations and discussions topic-based avoiding unproductive meetings:

At Workjoy:

We have noticed and felt under our skin the pain of having long chat conversations where things become entangled and confusing to recall when you need to make a clear decision.

So, when we built Workjoy, we created a structured conversation system: one focus, one task, one conversation.

Instead of having one conversation where you discuss everything. You have multiple conversations each versing a specific topic, be it a task or a project. This was a game changer in the productivity of our team. Less stress, more valuable work.


The constant search to promote an efficient work environment led us to adopt innovative strategies to transform our work meetings. By following these three strategies, you not only say goodbye to unproductive meetings but also reinforce the collaboration and effectiveness of the entire team.

The combination of these three strategies will improve your internal dynamics and also lay the foundation for a more cohesive and goal-oriented work environment.

And remember, to improve your meetings productivity and eliminate pointless meetings, you always need to plan ahead and create structure.

Make your team love mondays!

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