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The Case for No-Meeting Days

April 28, 2021

By Linda Olejniczak, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Whether working remote or in person chances are you have too many meetings. It is how we collaborate, manage projects, and get work done.  On average each of us are in 62 unproductive meetings per month which equals one whole week.   The side effects include lost productivity, burnout, overworked employees, and wasted time.  Not to mention employees are working at night and on the weekends to make up those hours.  Employees do not get time to put their head down and crank out their work.  Remember doing that and how good it feels? 

There are some advantages to running a no-meeting day and making it part of your culture. On average it takes an employee 23 minutes to get back into a groove after a meeting. Add up all those meetings and half your day is gone.  With a no meetings day, your employees enjoy an uninterrupted day to get in the zone and work on a project and produce a quality product. Production goes up.

Nearly 73% of employees do other work in a meeting. Employees jump from one meeting to another with no time to prepare for meetings or do what was assigned in a meeting. It makes sense employees are not engaged.  Increase employee engagement with less, but more meaningful meetings.

How to implement no-meeting days in your organization:

  • Get buy in from all levels of the workforce.
  • Agree on the day of the week or do blocks of time each day where meetings are banned.
  • Run a pilot program to work out the kinks.
  • Clear the calendar.
  • Communicate, encourage, and support the new no-meeting policy.

While it is discouraged to schedule a meeting on the no-meeting day unless it is critical, no-meeting days do not mean you ignore each other one day a week. 

Implementing a no-meeting day can seem daunting.  Make sure meetings are evenly distributed throughout the week.  Continually evaluate the policy and usefulness of meetings scheduled to make sure everyone benefits from the time together.  And managers, do not forget to lead by example.

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