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Are meetings a waste of time?

Zoom fatigue is tiredness, worry or burnout associated with the overuse of virtual platforms of communication, particularly videotelephony’...

We’ve all been there, unenthusiastically waving goodbye as you exit your fourth Zoom meeting of the morning, trudging over to the kettle as you mutter to yourself “that definitely could have been an email”.

It’s a common thought process, recent research from Adobe (via The Mirror) found that workers in the UK struggle to spend more than 60% of their work day actually doing their job, with ‘unnecessary meetings’ being a major time-consumer, along with ‘tedious admin’ and ‘pointless processes’ significantly eating into valuable hours that should be spent working.

While the post-pandemic world of flexible working has brought a plethora of benefits for employees and businesses alike, optimising meetings is a skill that still manages to elude so many.

It could have been an email…

In fact, a new report from Microsoft found that the average Microsoft Teams user saw a 252% increase in their weekly online meeting times since February 2020, with 148% of respondents saying the amount of time they spent in meetings each week had more than doubled since the pandemic.

Another study, from the Harvard Business Review, found just how bad a reputation meetings now have amongst teams, with an alarming 92% of employees saying they found meetings costly and unproductive.

In that same research, the group also found that of the 76 companies it surveyed, employee productivity was 71% higher when meetings were reduced by 40%, largely driven by individuals feeling more empowered and autonomous.

Now, none of this is to say that meetings are pointless, or redundant, or evil — rather, our relationship with them is a complicated one that desperately needs work.

All of those above figures are a clear indication that more than ever, our approach simply has to shift to align with a drastically different work landscape. Meetings need to be where progress happens, with a clear-cut agenda, and should deliver clarity and concrete follow-up tasks immediately after finishing. Without these, businesses face significant waste in terms of time, resources and revenue.

A headache for project managers

A project manager’s job has rarely been a straightforward one, especially when it comes to the endless admin surrounding meetings. Now though, what was already an uphill battle has become a daunting mountain of chasing project updates and attendance, evenings spent writing up and distributing meeting notes as well as numerous follow-up actions  — cue the process starting over, and over, and over again.

Like all other aspects of a business, meeting effectiveness should be constantly monitored and evaluated, and just like any other performance metric if they aren’t delivering what is required then changes should be made accordingly.

Using Fluid’s Meeting automation functionality and templates, meetings stay on time and on topic, giving project managers instant access and control of agenda items, notes, actions, decisions, project status and historical conversations, while Automated Minutes ensure detailed meeting notes take seconds, not hours.

In a time when the traditional office increasingly becomes a thing of the past, visibility and streamlined collaboration must be embraced by businesses, with both qualities forming an intrinsic part of any high-value meeting. To find out how Fluid can help make pointless meetings a thing of the past, request a demo.

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