Yes, they are! Meetings are crucial for an organisation to function smoothly— most of the time. However, that allocated time where key personnel get together to discuss important matters, solve problems, plan campaigns and a whole lot more are often time-consuming and sometimes, do not achieve the intended goals. These meetings can often run for hours, taking up precious time that can be used for meaningful work. Think about it, how many times have you left meetings feeling drained?
The Covid-19 pandemic has made us re-evaluate the importance of meetings as we are forced to conduct it digitally and often, within a limited timeframe. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also advised organisations to consider whether a face-to-face meeting is necessary to minimise potential risk from Covid-19 spreading at the workplace. Hence, if a meeting must go on as planned, it is advisable to keep in mind physical distancing and to keep it short and sweet. Here are a few suggestions on how an organisation can make meetings more productive.
1. Prep Attendees
First and foremost, make sure that only those that are really needed, attend the meeting. This would minimise the need for unnecessary time spent on repeated explanations, and if the meeting is irrelevant to one’s responsibilities, it can truly be a frustrating waste of time. Once the attendees have been determined, be sure to let them know what are the goals for the meeting beforehand. Do consider preparing a list of questions or any reading materials that can be shared with them before the meeting. A prepared group of attendees that are aware of what to expect will likely help keep meetings short, sweet and productive.
2. Ban Devices
How many times has an attendee excused himself or herself from a meeting to answer an important call or is simply too busy replying emails? Only to have other attendees wait or a recap is then required to keep him or her up to speed on what was discussed. No doubt banning devices during meetings might invite some negative reactions, but it may prove to help increase productivity as an incentive to ensure meetings are kept straight to the point with no dilly-dallying.
3. Watch what you eat
We, Malaysians are famous for our food, or some might say, our love for food. But, who can blame us with the variety of food that’s available. A melting pot of culture, we are spoilt for choice in the food arena. From nasi lemak for breakfast, nasi kandar for lunch to a plethora of street food for dinner. A heavy meal can often leave one feeling lethargic. Not a good feeling when you’re expected to put on your thinking caps and exercise some major brain power at an important meeting that’s scheduled right after lunch. Hence, one might want to consider a lighter and healthier meal to ensure one remains productive and alert during a meeting.
By now, most organisations would have gotten used to communicating digitally. Some have even realised most discussions or problems can be solved with a few emails. Others have begun to rely on online collaborative tools to ensure work progress is kept in check. In these unprecedented times, keeping employees safe is of utmost importance. Hence, while business must go on, as usual, let’s also take preventive measures that can help minimise the risk of Covid-19 spreading in workplaces.