Reclaim your time with these 4 alternatives to boring meetings

by Ana Lopez

Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

There is perhaps one thing all employees can collectively agree on: meetings take time, and a lot of it at once.

The average number of meetings held each week has steadily increased, which is no surprise in today’s busy cultural work environment. a questionnaire conducted by Dialpad among more than 2,800 working professionals found that about 83% of them spend between four and 12 hours per calendar week attending meetings.

On average, employees spend 30% of their work week attending meetings, and in some cases these sessions are nothing but wasted hours that could have been used more productively.

Meetings not only take their toll on workers, but also on the economy.

The burden of workplace meetings not only costs employees and their employers precious time, but it also costs the economy billions each year. A study predicts that unproductive meetings cost the economy about $37 billion annually.

In the midst of the pandemic, teams quickly managed to navigate the virtual office with video conferencing platforms to help them effectively communicate and connect with their teammates. While this provided a workaround for the time, in the aftermath employees have now complained of video fatigue, disorganized meetings, limited digital features and a lack of work-life privacy for employees who work from home.

It is often hard to say whether meetings can be productive or not, but in the same breath, depending on the company’s need or requirements, most meetings end up being catch-up sessions for employees, wasting valuable hours and holding back team members.

Instead of diving deep into the pros and cons of meetings, it’s time to take a look at some meeting alternatives that entrepreneurs can embrace in the new year. While the transition may be difficult at first, it is often better to stay ahead of the game than to continually implement outdated practices that no longer serve the well-being of the company and its employees.

Related: You Might Rethink That Team Meeting When You Find Out How Much It Really Costs

1. Embrace digital collaboration tools

With the rise of technology in the workplace, whether on-site or remote, it’s time for entrepreneurs to embrace collaboration tools that help bring greater transparency and team appreciation.

Using digital collaboration tools not only helps streamline communication and brainstorming sessions, but it can also help hold employees accountable with team reports and provide business owners with more transparency in terms of the reports reflected. In addition, it is possible to set short and long-term goals, making it easier for employees to track their progress and determine their productivity.

It is better to have a shared goal among the employees, to make sure everyone is on the same page and that there are clear guidelines for the future. This not only helps employees to use their time better, but also helps them work more effectively in teams towards a business goal.

Digital collaboration can also help break up teams, making it easier for like-minded employees to discuss work-related topics, sparking creativity and boosting employee communication efforts.

2. Make better use of email

Yes, that meeting you scheduled could have been an email, and it’s a shared opinion among many employees these days. Instead of having employees attend meetings that may not be related to their work, try sending a team email with the most important information you want to share.

For decades we have used email to communicate with clients, companies and other colleagues, and most of the time we have succeeded in getting the right message across.

Instead of filling employee inboxes with hundreds of unnecessary and unimportant emails every day, it’s important to be more frugal with emails. Be sure to send one or two emails every day, maybe one in the morning and one at the end of the work day, to make sure all employees are on board for the next day.

Emails work just as well as regular meetings, especially for the smaller and less important information sessions that don’t necessarily require an entire team.

Related: Do You Have Too Many Meetings? Here’s how you can cut back

3. Send a recorded video

Another alternative could be to send a recorded video to employees. This may be more appropriate for situations where a walkthrough of a new project or process needs to be discussed, or an explanation added to a specific point.

Video messages can be short but informative, and in some ways can be a little more personal than simply sending out a daily email or weekly roundup newsletter.

For video messages, you should record on demand and include as much information as possible in the video clip. You may also need to edit the video, which requires access to video editing software.

While this alternative may not be the most conventional, it is much easier and more time-efficient than having members join a conference call that requires a stable internet connection to maintain video quality during the call.

4. Start message threads

Often employees who work in the office or on location collaborate through a team management platform such as Slack, Nifty or Google Teams. These platforms allow for seamless communication between members and can easily be a way for employees to share information and other important documents.

As an, you can easily share a message or document via the platform with which you can start a thread that can get employees more involved. Keeping employees engaged means everyone is clear on the message and those who have questions can get their questions answered in real time.

It may be good practice to start a thread as soon as all employees are online or present and indicate when a thread has ended. This way employees know when they need to be present and whether relevant information is shared among the participants.

Related: Could Banning Meetings Be The Key To A Happier Workforce?

Final thoughts

It is not possible to completely rule out the importance of meetings, whether in-person or virtual. Today’s employees often view meetings as pointless and a waste of time, and instead of this attitude manifesting itself within your company and company, make sure you look for alternatives to unproductive meetings.

The idea of ​​meetings is to share valuable information between interested employees, but also to ensure that all team members are on the same page about progress and potential changes ahead. Make sure you choose an alternative that suits the company and its employees, and better yet, make sure you implement a structure that encourages employee involvement and gets the message across effectively.

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