While meetings are an efficient way to bounce ideas around, as well as give you the chance to delegate and charge tasks to team members, it’s usually the case that you exit a meeting with an extensive to-do list, leaving you with more work than when you started.
Not only that, but a meeting, no matter how considerately it is scheduled, can actively disrupt workflow. Take this scenario as an example: ever had a meeting at 11am and spent the morning preparing for said meeting, as opposed to actually working? You know, on your actual work?
There are many trappings of a meeting-heavy culture, which is why some workplaces are banning them for one day a week altogether.
Software company Asana has started introducing a “No Meeting Wednesdays” approach to their scheduling and it’s as simple as it sounds: no-one in the entire company is allowed to schedule a meeting on a Wednesday.
“A meeting is really just a disruption in workflow and just works to add more tasks to their list of to-dos.”
It’s an interesting concept, especially when cofounder Dustin Moskovitz explained the reason behind their policy: it’s mainly disruptive because it assumes the workflow of a broad scope of people is the same.
“The gist is that makers suffer greatly from interrupts in their flow time. Managers are generally used to having a schedule-driven day, so it’s easy for them to throw a disruption into somebody else’s calendar,” the memo reads. “Makers also do this to each other.”
For a manager, the idea of a meeting is a great way to check on tasks and delegate future ones, but occasionally, for the ‘maker’, in Asana’s case, a meeting is really just a disruption in workflow and just works to add more tasks to their list of to-dos. By eliminating them altogether on Wednesdays, staff have a chance to actually get some work done, without any interruptions from fellow team members or eager managers.
Online moving service Moveline have a similar scheme for Tuesdays. In place of meetings, the company christened Tuesdays “Maker Day”, where their creative team could actually, well, create without any potential interruption for at least one whole day a week.
“Maker Day is a day where the goal is for people to be productive with a big problem they are trying to solve,” Moveline co-founder and chief product officer Kelly Eidson explained to Fast Company. “People in the team can work wherever they want and don’t have to be accessible to anyone but themselves.”
It doesn’t mean meetings should be eliminated altogether – they’re still a great way to get ideas flowing and help to consolidate a feeling of shared commitment to a task, but perhaps the next time you decide a meeting would be easier for you to get things done, consider whether it’s also easier for everyone you attach to your meeting request.