Balancing work meetings and focus time is a challenge, especially for companies operating in a purely digital environment.
Being available all day for virtual meetings can severely hamper employee productivity and lead to burnout issues.
Let’s take a look at some meeting stats of professionals to set the scene:
- Market average of professionals is 21.5 hours in meetings a week.
- 71 minutes a week are lost due to canceled meetings.
- Professionals average 7.3 hours more per week in meetings since February 2020.
What’s the solution to this meeting-heavy dilemma? Meeting free days.
What is a meeting free day?
A meeting free day isn’t too complex. Many companies who embrace meeting free days decide on the same day each week to nominate for no meetings or interruptions.
Employees block off the specific day in their calendars to focus on tasks and projects that require their full attention.
What are the benefits of meeting free days?
Not convinced whether meeting free days are the right move for your business? Check out these three benefits.
Boost team morale
Implementing meeting free days is often a well-received concept as most workers enjoy the relief from meeting exhaustion. One day a week free from meetings is great for boosting team morale as it gives your team the space to be productive.
When you boost team morale, you demonstrate that you’re taking care of your employees’ wellbeing. Which is a win-win for everyone.
A meeting free business policy allows your employees to concentrate fully on tasks and works to eliminate multitasking (which, as we all know, is the killer of productivity).
A good chunk of time facilitates deep thinking and means that often you can unleash creativity and produce some exceptional work.
When you have a company-wide policy of only holding necessary meetings, those meetings that do go ahead are often a much more productive use of time.
So when you create a meeting request, it’s likely that your team will be more engaged and present for the discussion.
How to implement meeting free days
Firstly, communicate your intention to your employees to ensure everyone is on the same page. Explain why you want to implement meeting free days and listen to any objections people may raise.
Why not create an email to explain the potential benefits of this new working arrangement? It could look something like this:
It’s a great idea to get feedback on the best day of the week to block out as a meeting free day, as this secures more chance of company-wide buy-in.
To decide which day of the week works best for your team, analyze how your team is currently managing their time across the working week:
- Which days are most meeting-heavy?
- Are there specific days that people are commonly not available?
- Which day of the week does everyone feel the most pressure?
Fridays may seem like the obvious choice, but this is often the day people take for vacations as an extended weekend. Consider a mid week option as your company meeting free day.
Once you’ve chosen your company’s meeting free day, aim to start in a few weeks’ time. This gives everyone the opportunity to move things around in their calendars and be prepared for the new routine, especially if some people are working to a flexible work schedule.
Now is the time to decide which meetings are truly necessary while you’re shaking up the routine. The last thing you want is for people to add meetings to already overloaded days.
To undertake a calendar audit, begin by asking these questions:
Once you’ve decided which meetings are the most valuable, shelve the rest and re-schedule the others outside of the designated meeting free day.
To ensure the rest of your team’s working week isn’t impacted by the new regime of meeting free days, it’s useful to implement a routine of meeting hygiene best practices. These can include:
If you free up a day from meetings it could be tempting to try and squash more into other days during the week. But, this is not the best for your employees’ mental wellbeing and productivity levels.
Avoid booking consecutive meetings or meetings during lunch time whenever possible. This will help ensure your employees are not working overtime and burning out.
Implementing meeting free days is a simpler task with the help of the right tech stack.
Using software to consolidate work communications makes implementing meeting free days a breeze. A PBX system for small business use is ideal for consolidating all communications into one platform.
And there’s no reason why you can’t use your telephony solution to communicate through instant messaging on meeting free days.
Lead by example and teach your team how to use meeting free days to the maximum effect.
These days should have a clear plan and goal and are an excellent opportunity to do some deep and uninterrupted work.
Save creative projects and similar tasks for meeting free days and see your team’s productivity levels soar.
Businesses that work with hosted VoIP solutions are probably used to remote working and flexible work arrangements. But if your company needs a little more convincing, don’t lose hope.
Forward-thinking businesses like Facebook adopted meeting free days to allow their employees to collaborate with others on a more convenient schedule, and it’s a winner.
If you’re facing productivity challenges and low morale in your organization, why not give it a go? It could make all the difference to your working day and provide a happier working environment.