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Hybrid Meetings

How To Reduce Unnecessary Meetings and Maximize Productivity

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Group communication is essential in shifting hybrid markets, and meetings are critical in keeping teams connected. However, they can also waste company time and throw employees off their groove.

Most modern meetings include several conversations and agenda items — all of which may uniquely complicate your time. Reducing unnecessary meetings and time spent will help you maximize employee discussions.

How Do You Know When a Meeting Is Unnecessary?

Irrelevant meetings typically don't add much to your workday outside of distractions. However, it may be challenging to differentiate between effective meetings and ones that could have been an email — or were a waste of time.

When reviewing your meeting productivity, topics of discussion with the length. Many meetings, such as follow-ups and project updates, can easily be replaced with emails and instant messages. However, employees may not realize they're wasting time if they don't use other communication channels and rely solely on meetings.

Next, consider the frequency of your meetings. Most businesses don't need everyone to meet every week unless you're working on a particularly large project that's all hands on deck. Cut down and combine your most regular meetings to save valuable time.

Of course, you must also know which meetings you can't skip. Face-to-face interactions are arguably more important than ever in hybrid and remote settings.

Keep a few one-on-ones and staff meetings on your schedule and track your meeting efficiency across different discussions. This will let you narrow down which events are beneficial and which are clogging your work hours.

8 Strategies To Cut Back on Meetings and Be More Productive

Excessive meetings can quickly add up and limit employees' productivity. Follow these meeting time management strategies to optimize your work hours.

1. Track the Time Spent in Meetings To Optimize

Track your time in meetings to help gauge their value compared to the work hours spent. Meeting and time-tracking tools make this process easy and eliminate the need for a notepad and timer to record minutes.

Rather than only using your meeting's total length, consider tracking how long each agenda item takes overall. In doing so, you may identify unproductive blocks of time that hold you back. For example, consider how much time you spend waiting for latecomers or transitioning between topics.

After tracking several types of meetings, you may spot some that take longer than others. Consider how meeting lengths differ between different departments and how long each agenda item takes. This will help you identify where you can combine or reduce meetings.

2. Replace Follow-Ups With Asynchronous Communication

Asynchronous communication — or work messages that aren't time-sensitive — is key for workplaces with varying employee schedules. This way, employees don't have to wait for their coworkers to clock in before sending critical information. (Of course, coworkers should still wait until they're officially "working" to open their messages.) Nevertheless, this process guarantees that employees don't forget to send messages later.

This level of communication can also help you eliminate the dreaded "follow-up meeting." Follow-up meetings are great for quick project updates and resolutions. However, they can consume time in hybrid and remote workplaces — especially if emails would have gotten the same message.

Normalize asynchronous communication to speed up communication and decrease your useless meetings.

3. Use Block Time To Get Your Work Done

Time blocking is an increasingly popular strategy to maximize work hours, especially when operating remotely. The process requires you to schedule every aspect of your workday. This includes morning projects, breaks, and meetings.

Teams who block out their time may arrange their days around their best workflows. For example, an employee may start every day with projects that are easier for them. As a result, they'll have more autonomy over their work hours and be less likely to forget important tasks. Another employee may frontload the more difficult tasks to knock those out of the way and open up their schedule in the afternoon.

Block time is especially beneficial for changing plans at the last minute. For example, suppose a morning meeting is delayed until the afternoon. Employees can easily readjust their time blocks and keep working, thanks to their blocked schedule. On the other hand, an employee who hasn't scheduled their day may need extra time to devise a backup plan.

4. Consider Meeting-Free Days

Simply put, the most efficient way to reduce unnecessary meetings is to stop scheduling them. Virtual meetings are essential for communication and engagement. However, many hybrid and in-person workplaces give them too much weight.

Consider setting specific meeting-free days, such as Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays. These meeting limits are an easy way to limit your organization's reliance on them.

While making a rule against meetings could seem excessive, it sets a precedent that meetings don't have to be daily. As a result, employees feel less obligated to schedule them and find faster communication methods.

5. Leverage Calendars To Schedule Your Activities

Hybrid and remote organizations already rely heavily on communication technology. Following a shift to remote work in recent years, many adopted calendars and scheduling tools. However, not all employers know how to use these platforms to their maximum potential.

Keeping this information in one place makes it easier for employees to prepare thoughts and tasks beforehand. As a result, you can make the most of your time in meetings and establish more comprehensive communication moving forward.

Give employees as much information as possible when scheduling meetings to streamline discussions.

Your event's description can specify the:

  • Meeting agendas
  • Time
  • Tasks to complete beforehand
  • Other key details

You can optimize your communication further by syncing your Slack and Google Calendar. This combination lets employees view upcoming events and meetings directly from their dashboards. This way, they'll be less likely to miss important dates and can access meeting details faster.

6. Share Action Items for Meetings and Takeaways

Nearly every workplace meeting should end with the delegation of some type of action item. This could be the next phase of a project or a simple email. However, action items shouldn't take too much meeting time, especially if you already use instant messaging tools.

Maintain a dependable strategy for sharing your action items and key takeaways after each session. This can be:

  • A group email
  • A pinned Slack post
  • A shared document

Whatever you choose, keep it informative and consistent for every meeting. In doing so, you can avoid repeating yourself during meetings since all employees will know where to find the details later.

7. Use AI To Record Meeting Notes

Many AI meeting tools can automatically record and transcribe your meeting discussions. Though they may have a few mistakes and typos, these transcripts are reliable for reviewing ideas and decisions later. Beyond that, they can eliminate the need for a secretary or minute recorder. Instead, all attendees can pay full attention and reread the AI notes independently.

Like action items and takeaways, these AI-generated meeting notes can reliably keep your team on the same page. As a result, employees will be less likely to ask you to repeat details since they can easily review the transcript.

8. Eliminate Status Update Meetings

Status update meetings are usually larger and more frequent than follow-up meetings. Many organizations use these workplace meetings to allow everyone to engage and share their current projects. Status updates also give hybrid and remote employees consistent ways to interact.

Despite their benefits, status updates can quickly become unproductive meetings that draw out the clock. Frequent updates and in-person interactions are critical but don't need to be weekly occurrences.

In lieu of status update meetings, consider integrating briefer follow-up and one-on-one sessions. Then, direct all employees to your Slack, Scoop, or other platform for updates and vital information. If your team still needs to interact more, they may benefit from monthly or quarterly staff meetings. However, these larger meetings should combine essential topics to maximize everyone's attendance.

Boost Productivity by Coordinating Meeting Schedules With Scoop

You can quickly learn how to reduce unnecessary meetings with the right practices and technology. Perfect for hybrid teams, Scoop lets you combine your workplace communication in an easy scheduling platform.

Scoop provides employees with a snapshot of their upcoming meetings every day. Here, they can view everything on their docket or the key details for specific events. These meeting details include:

  • Event name
  • Meeting time
  • Meeting location
  • Agenda items
  • Attendee names and roles
  • The number of attendees that will be in office
  • How to communicate when running late

This level of technology lets your entire team maximize their time. As a result, you can improve employee productivity and maintain a consistent communication channel. Download Scoop for free to learn how the platform can help you reduce meeting time.

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