Are your office meetings driving down productivity?


There are many obstacles that you have to deal with each workday, but to keep your staff on the right path, you need to make sure unnecessary interruptions are severely limited or eliminated all together.

Throughout a typical workday, some of you might think you spend the majority of your time in meetings. Unplanned interruptions that come from last-minute meetings can significantly impact your productivity and the staff beneath you. You have to control your staff’s and your own time to be a successful leader, but if you don’t take a hold of this, you cannot control unplanned interruptions.

According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, approximately $37 billion is wasted in the U.S. each year due to unnecessary meetings. One of the fastest ways to tell if you’re spending too much time in meetings is if you have ever used an auto-reply saying “I’m in meetings all day,” Entrepreneur reported.

To know if meetings are driving down your productivity, here are a few questions you should be asking:

Do they really need to be here?
One question you should ask is who really needs to be on the attendance list for specific meetings. According to Entrepreneur, keep the attendance list short to make sure other’s time isn’t wasted. Productivity can be significantly affected when workers are constantly going to meetings they don’t need to attend.

When workers begin to feel overwhelmed by the amount of meetings each day, it can slowly manifest into lowered job satisfaction, self-esteem and confidence. Drop the meeting’s roster by as much as possible, so worker momentum is not lost with unnecessary and unimportant gatherings.

Can you move meetings to the phone or Internet?
If the meeting is a simple announcement, these interruptions should be moved to email, Time Management Ninja reported. However, if the meeting is necessary but doesn’t  require some attendees to fully participate, move the meeting to the phone or Internet by chat or webcam.

This will allow workers to attend but work on other things while in the meeting. Phone meetings are a great way for some of your workers to discreetly multitask. Again, being able to work partially is much better than getting to do nothing at all because employees’ momentum is lost when they are removed from their standard daily duties.

Do people take your meetings seriously?
If half the appropriate people show up to your meeting, you’re working within an unorganized system. If you take some of these helpful steps to clearly enforce time wasting prevention and the necessity of meetings, each gathering will be deemed essential.

According to Fast Company, you have to be prepared when you schedule a meeting because sometimes you end up with 20 people in a room talking loudly while you try to hook up your laptop to the large screen. Make sure equipment is ready to go for meetings to cut unnecessary and wasteful time.

Additionally, if you work in a smaller office, the meeting rooms are likely limited. Make sure rooms are appropriately scheduled to avoid interruptions from other employees.

Is the meeting trying to do too much?
Time limits on meetings are a good way to prevent them from going on too long. However, you should focus on whether everyone is on topic. According to USA Today, when meetings try to tackle multiple issues, original points get off subject and lost in the overall importance of the meeting.

Instead, keep meetings concise and to the point. If there are any other topics that could relate to the subject, have your workers email you their concerns to prevent wasting other employees’ time.

Cohen Brown Management Group is the internally recognized leader in sales-and-service cultural and behavioral change, specializing in consulting and training processes for management, front-line, support/customer service units and call centers. Performance Grapevine provides thought leadership insights on sales training, sales management, leadership training, time management, consultative selling, behavior change, organization change, and culture change.


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