The no-meeting day concept
June 1, 2018
By Mary Corrado, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE<br /><br />One of the newest trends in business is implementing “no-meeting” days. When I first read about this trend I was excited, because I often get exhausted just looking at my calendar! I thought this sounded ideal for me. But the more I thought about it, I started to wonder where all those meetings would go. Would I just be busier on the other days?<br /><br />I have come to the conclusion that for this no-meeting concept to work, it should not only be about making our time more productive on days without meetings, but also making meetings more efficient and productive. I think that for a no-meeting day plan to be successful, meetings in general would need to be reduced. One article I read stated that according to a study by Atlassian, employees attend an average of 62 meetings per month and half of those are considered to be a waste of time by the attendees. Another study by Microsoft surveyed 38,000 workers in 200 countries and found that they spend 5.6 hours per week in meetings. 69% of those respondents thought the meetings were unproductive. So, this tells me that not only are we having too many meetings, but the meetings we have are often not efficient.<br /><br />I have so many doubts over whether this no-meeting concept could really work, but I have yet to find an article that states otherwise. Professionals and business leaders are raving about this and claiming an increase in productivity. I think it seems to work best for people in positions that need to be creative such as designers, engineers, product managers, etc. Positions like these require one to be able to focus for hours at a time without interruption. But how would this work in a fast-paced, highly collaborative, customer service-oriented company such as ASE? I’m still trying to figure that out.<br /><br />One company I’ve read about over and over again that is a huge proponent of no-meeting days is Asana. I checked out a recent blog post from them to see what they suggest and what benefits they’ve seen. This is what I found:<br /><br /><ul><li>Benefits: They’ve experienced fewer disruptions, greater task completion on no-meeting days, and greater employee satisfaction.<br /><br /></li><li>How it Works in Practice: They ask employees to be mindful and encourage everyone to use their best judgement when scheduling meetings on a no-meeting day. There are occasions when they have to schedule meetings, for example: a client is only able to meet on a Wednesday. Exceptions to their No Meeting Wednesdays do occur, and the main goal is to avoid scheduling internal meetings on this day.<br /><br /></li><li>How to Implement it in Your Company: If you want to implement a no-meeting day policy at your company, they recommend adding the no-meeting day as a recurring event for the entire staff as a reminder to keep those days free.</li></ul>I haven’t yet declared any of my days to be barred from meetings, but I have tried to schedule all my in-office meetings on Mondays or Thursdays. This allows me to know ahead of time the days I need to be in the office, and keep the rest of the week open for off-site meetings, events, etc.