Meetings are time-consuming. In fact, the average director or manager spends 2.5 hours in unproductive meetings each week. So are they just a waste of everyone’s time? We take a look at the impact meetings have on company productivity – and how to make them work for you.

Meetings can be essential for collaboration, sharing ideas, updating the team and having discussions. But grouping everyone together in a room can cause all sorts of disruption and inconvenience. And while there are usually good intentions behind holding a meeting, they can often damage company productivity rather than making it better.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself before calling a meeting to see whether it’s necessary and what alternatives might be available.

Do you know what you want to get out of the meeting?

Do you want to share ideas, make a decision on a project, come up with a plan of action? What’s your ultimate objective?

Once you’re sure of the purpose, consider whether there’s the potential to hold it digitally. You can use group video chats can to include people who aren’t nearby. Or online group chats can work well to help you make decisions without disrupting company productivity.

Digital meetings are also handy for keeping tabs on what’s said. Platforms can record the discussion for people to refer back to without someone having to frantically take notes.

Of course, when you’re talking about sensitive issues, face-to-face meetings might be more advisable.

When does the meeting need to take place?

It’s often difficult to pick a time for a meeting that ensures everyone can make it. Client calls, shifting deadlines, and uncooperative technical devices are prone to getting in the way.

Make sure to plan well in advance to allow as many people as possible to pencil your meeting into their calendars. You could also try using a digital alternative like Workplace by Facebook, where the ongoing project or team discussion enables people to join and leave the conversation as it suits them.

Is there another way to hold the meeting?

Access to communications platforms and apps allow people to stay in contact with all corners of the world and from all corners of the office. And they help improve team effectiveness at the same time.

So before calling a physical meeting, consider this. If it doesn’t happen, what will you miss out on? Can team members use any other platform to discuss this project/idea/decision or process?

If people are happy to discuss the topic over a digital medium without having to disrupt what they’re working on (and making team effectiveness worse), then perhaps you have your answer. A physical meeting probably isn’t necessary.

Find out how using Workplace can join people and teams together wherever they work. See for yourself and try it free for 90 days.

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