Meetings are a fundamental part of working in an office environment. They’re great for collaboration, business growth and generating new ideas, however many meetings can be ill-managed and end up wasting valuable time. Here are some ways to switch-up the traditional meeting format to ensure maximum productivity.

Watch the clock - Research from MeetingSquared concluded that 45.7% of UK workers say their mind wonders off onto unrelated topics during meetings, and Sharp’s research also revealed that a third (34%) of employees asked had witnessed a colleague falling asleep in one. From these statistics alone, it’s clear to see meetings tend to be too long where concentration and productivity decrease by the minute.

Set a limit - It’s recommended that a meeting should last no longer than 30-45 minutes, and any longer ones (1 hour+) should allow attendees to take a break or two to refresh their minds and refocus. Setting a time-limit and sticking to It should boost decision-making and overall productivity, which otherwise wouldn’t be achieved in a meeting that dragged on with no definitive end-time.

Get on your feet - A technique some offices are using is standing up during meetings. Sitting in a comfy office chair in a 2 hour meeting could make attendees slump back, become tired and distracted. Standing not only keeps employees alert, but the discomfort of standing for a long period of time should stimulate quick and productive decision making.

Paul Lees, founder and chief executive of conference call provider Powwownow comments “We hold all our development ‘scrum’ meetings as stand-ups, keeping them quick and to the point. And a standing policy in meetings certainly makes people get to the point a lot quicker.”

Cut the invite list - Try to invite essential employees only - up to 5 people is best for optimum productivity. A meeting of 10+ people may result in voices not getting heard and topics shifting quickly. For meetings where a large attendance is needed, allocate a leader or head decision-maker, or split into smaller teams for conversations, then regroup.

Add some fun - We won’t tiptoe around the truth here - meetings can be boring (if not done efficiently, that is). Try make meetings a part of the day employees look forward to by adding incentives or making them fun.

Mix up the location and vary the format - don’t stick to the same old Powerpoint-at-the-front type. Go outside, go for lunch, and try team-activities.

Provide drinks to boost hydration, as well as a few snacks. If your team are keen bakers or chefs, rotate on employees making the office snacks every week, making the meeting less formal and more like a conversation.

Make sure the setting is right - While it may not seem that important, making sure the environment in which the meeting takes place is suitable. As we’ve previously discussed, exposure to natural light and having enough ventilation is key in ensuring productivity. Adding plants and greenery to the meeting room (or again, meet outside) will boost air quality and make the space an overall nice one to be in.

So, with all of that in mind, here’s to more productive meetings!

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our Content Writer.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with a love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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