According to research, about 50 percent of employees think meetings are the biggest waste of their time while at work—and the number one killer of productivity.
Here, we are not talking about conferences, seminars, and board meetings that are usually well-planned. We are talking about those in-house staff meetings that usually last for hours, but are not always necessary.
Granted, business meetings provide an avenue for discussing important issues about a company and everything related to it, but these meetings come with the disadvantage of killing the productivity of both employees and executives. This explains why experts have recommended the cancellation of most business meetings as a way to increase productivity. Here are 10 reasons why business meetings kill productivity:
10 Reasons why Business Meetings Kill Productivity
1. Business meetings waste time
As stated earlier, most business meetings take up a significant fraction of employee’s work hours, leaving them with very little time to complete important tasks. For executives, it’s even worse—more than half of their time at work is spent at one meeting or the other, with either employees or third party stakeholders such as customers, suppliers and business partners. In fact, one of the hallmarks of modern day business executives is that they spend most of their time at business meetings.
2. Most business meetings produce no action plan
After a meeting, there should be an action plan that outlines and explains vital steps to be taken. But unfortunately most meetings end up without this kind of plan. And this leads to holding subsequent meetings to revisit issues that should otherwise have been done with. Of course, the more meetings employees and executives participate in, the more of productive work time they lose.
3. Most business meetings are not prepared for
Most business meetings are called when it’s clear that the organizer has nothing put together for the meetings. They just want to talk about something, neglecting the fact that this is sheer waste of precious time. Without a solid plan as to what will be discussed at a meeting and for how long the meeting will hold, unnecessary issues will be discussed (and another meeting will even scheduled for any leftovers), and nothing positive will be achieved.
4. Issues discussed at last meeting are reviewed
This is one of the commonest reasons why business meetings take more time than normal. The issues raised or discussed at the previous meeting should have been disseminated and read beforehand. This will make one business meeting an apt sequel to the previous one—not a time-wasting repetition of the previous one. So, always kick that “Reading of minutes of the last meeting” nonsense out of your meeting agenda.
5. Business meetings sometimes break out into sub-meetings
There are times when a business meeting will spark other new debates and discussions. While it’s quite normal for such new ideas or issues to come up during a meeting, allowing them to change the direction of the meeting is the common mistake that leads to prolonged meeting time and unproductive meetings. And for each meeting that produces no good results, many more will come until an acceptable goal is achieved.
6. People socialize at business meetings
Business meetings kill productivity because they take longer than normal. And one of the reasons they take longer time is unnecessary socializing among attendees. People ask their colleagues what they did over the weekend, when such questions could be asked over lunch.
7. Some points of the meetings are repeated for silly reasons
Another reason why most business meetings take too much time is the unnecessary repetition of what has been discussed, so that someone who walked in during the meeting or was absent at the last meeting would understand where the meeting has been heading from. This is a subtle way to neglect the importance of other people’s time. No matter how important an individual is to a business, there should be an alternative way to tell them about what they missed in a meeting.
8. Most meetings are brainstorming sessions
If a business needs to achieve a certain goal and needs ideas from employees and executives on how to achieve that goal, a business meeting can be called for that. However, where most business organizers get is wrong is to use the meeting as an avenue for coming up with new ideas. This would always take time, especially since most employees have to brainstorm for ideas on the spot—something they were not prepared for. Ideally, the agenda should have been communicated to attendees, so everyone comes with their own ideas.
9. Technology prolongs most meetings
Most business meetings are unduly prolonged by the need to fix the projector, or the need to search through the web for some information, or the need for the organizer to receive a call. All these things add to the total time spent at business meetings.
10. Most business meetings are held for informational purposes-: Business meetings should be held for decision-making purposes. Reading unnecessary information from a PowerPoint presentation or narrating the history of the company will only waste time.