Meetings are pretty much a given in any type of workplace environment. If you're a regular employee, you probably attend several per week. If you're a manager, you might attend several per day. But as popular as meetings have become, it's probably in your team's best interest to have fewer of them.
Here are a few good reasons you should aim to cut back on meetings.
1. Your employees probably hate them
It's not that meetings have to be boring -- it's that things just tend to work out that way. And when you think about it from an attendee perspective, that makes sense. Often, meetings entail higher-ups talking while folks who are lower on the totem pole, or less integral to the discussion at hand, are forced to sit still for 60 minutes listening. Even workers with fantastic attention spans can get bored, fidgety, and downright frustrated.
But it's not just employees who detest meetings. Managers often feel the same despite being the ones to organize those sit-downs in the first place. Therefore, it pays to take a little survey at your office and figure out how the people on your team feel about meetings -- and scale back if the responses are overwhelmingly negative.
2. They often aren't necessary
Sometimes, meetings can be an effective way of getting groups of people up to speed on joint initiatives. But often, the items discussed during meetings, especially larger ones, can be easily summarized in an email and distributed to the players involved.
Now this isn't to say that meetings are never essential. But those that fall into the "not a waste of time" category tend to be smaller in nature. Remember, when you gather 20 people for a meeting, there's a good chance half won't get an opportunity to offer input and might not even pay attention. So think about different ways to communicate information and updates internally, without cramming a few dozen bodies into a single conference room.
3. They're killing everyone's productivity
Meetings can be a productivity-zapper for a number of reasons. First, they take up time. Second, they're often scheduled inefficiently. Imagine you have employees who attend a 30-minute meeting from 10:00 to 10:30, and then have another meeting from 11:00 to 11:30. By the time they get back to their desks from the first meeting and pick up where they left off, there's barely any time to dive in and get real work done prior to that second meeting.
If you've noticed that your team's output has been on a steady decline, it could be that an uptick in meetings is to blame. And if that's the case, you need to look at the big picture and figure out what's most important for your team.
Meetings at work are often unavoidable. But if it's within your power to make some of them go away, it pays to do so and see what transpires. You may find that your team is happier and more productive once those meeting invites stop flooding their inboxes.