According to a survey released by Clarizen and Harris Poll, the average American office employee spends more than nine hours each week prepping for or attending meetings. It’s a huge fraction of time for workers; unfortunately, it might not be productively spent. While everyone can agree that sometimes meetings aren’t their favorite past-time, they do serve a purpose. They provide an environment in which employees can gather, share ideas and collaborate on projects, campaigns and strategy. All that said, many experts argue that it isn’t meetings themselves, but instead the meeting culture.
Is your meeting culture lacking? Here are some signs that it might not be as great as you want it to be:
- Meeting attendants are clearly disengaged. This may take the form of blatant cell phone use.
- Meeting attendants are clearly uncomfortable. Maybe they are rubbing their neck or constantly adjusting their position, trying to get comfortable in their chair.
- Workers complain about how long meetings are. If your meetings are going over an hour, it may be time to reevaluate if that time frame is absolutely necessary.
- Your meetings end without clear action points for each member to now perform on their own or in smaller teams.
If you think you’re in need of improving your meeting culture, it’s vital to consider meeting time frames and meeting attendants. Ensure that the time needed is appropriate and that every participant is necessary. If meetings are too long and individuals see no benefit to being in the meeting, they are sure to disengage very quickly, which is not only distracting to others, but also puts a damper on productivity if, instead of working, the unneeded employee is stuck in a meeting.
Another necessary component of positive meeting culture is to ensure that each meeting is useful for all. Creating informed action items for each attendant from the meeting discussion can help make meetings more valuable for employees and for the company as a whole. Lastly, outfitting any meeting or conference room with comfortable seating is essential, especially if you consistently hold longer meetings.