Should You Bid Adieu to Weekly Meetings?

The weekly staff meeting—nearly every organization has one on the calendar indefinitely, but increasingly people are looking at ways to eliminate or replace this method of communication altogether.

If you’re on the fence and unsure of whether or not it’s time to bid the obligatory meeting farewell, here are a few pros and cons for each side of the debate.

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The Benefits of Weekly Meetings

If you find yourself stuck in a routine of what seem like utterly pointless weekly staff meetings with no real purpose or goal consider this—the face time itself may be a worthwhile reason to keep up the meetings.

In-person interactions are important and they can help you learn and delve into people and topics in a way you might be able to when communicating digitally. You can gauge your employees’ response to certain ideas, look at their body language and discern how they’re really feeling without the cover of a computer screen.

Also, while it may not happen at every weekly meeting, there are inevitably going to be some great ideas that come from these sessions. When everyone is together, brainstorming and bouncing ideas off one another you can come up with some truly innovative concepts or insights. With that being said, in order for this be effective everyone has to be present and focused on the business at hand and willing to also communicate openly.

Weekly meetings can be a valuable tool to let employees know what’s going on and where the organizational priorities lie in terms of getting things done. Employees like to know what’s expected of them and when that task management is done digitally, it may get lost in the shuffle of all the other emails and communications people receive on an hourly basis.

Finally, weekly meetings don’t just let employees know what’s going on—they let employers gauge what’s happening in the office. There may be things happening with customers or throughout the office that managers and company leaders have no idea about until they hear it in a weekly meeting.

Why You Might Consider Ditching the Meetings

Now that we’ve covered the upside of those sometimes dreaded staff meetings, it’s time to look at the reality of why it may be better to skip them.

The first is the obvious—meetings take time and that time could be instead spent on projects and productivity. Even if your weekly meeting only lasts for half an hour, you have to consider the fact that it may be during a prime creative time for some of your employees and there’s also going to be conversations happening after the meeting. It may be a while before your employees are able to get back into the “zone” of work after having their day interrupted by a meeting.

Meetings also tend to serve no purpose when they’re happening just because they’re regularly scheduled. A meeting, in order to be effective, should have a purpose besides just “it’s how we do things.”

So if you ditch the meetings, what do you do instead?

A few ideas include:

  • Use messaging and collaboration tools that allow employees to share ideas and bounce thoughts off one another without having to meet in a designated place at a certain time. In our previous post we discussed some great tools for managing remote employees but these can be put in place even if all of your employees are in the same place, as an alternative to weekly meetings. You can cut through the unnecessary stuff while still communicating, brainstorming, or sharing.
  • Even if you’re going to stick with meetings, consider shortening them. Set a specific time limit of let’s say 20 or 30 minutes and let everyone know the meeting ends at that point—that will force everyone to share the most important concepts without going overboard and having employees talk for the sake of talking.
  • Skip the meetings but instead have a weekly social event for employees. This helps you get the face time you would normally have during meetings but it’s more fun for employees and there can actually be a lot of great relationship building and idea sharing that comes as a result. You can do a Friday afternoon get-together or just order lunch for your employees once a week and ensure all managers attend as well.

What do you think about weekly meetings? Necessary evil and ultimately productive or a time waster?

November 13, 2014   Updated :March 23, 2015      

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