Meeting declined | Here's how 'banning' meetings works - from one firm who has done it

Here's how 'banning' meetings works - from one firm who has done it
Here's how 'banning' meetings works - from one firm who has done it

At one point or another, it is likely that you have been in an unproductive meeting thinking about the other ways that you could have better spent your time. Whether that is getting ahead on a project, getting a new deal over the line, or conducting some useful planning that will help you going forwards.

Even after the meeting has finished, you might have even more questions, wonder why you were invited in the first place, or be left feeling confused over what the outcome of the meeting actually was. And if you have ever felt like this, then you are not alone.

In fact, research from and Dr Steven Rogelberg, a University of North Carolina Professor, found that professionals are spending more than one-third of their working time in meetings: of which 31% are deemed “unnecessary”. The report found that almost half (46%) of employees said that they have too many meetings in their calendar, which could result in colleagues feeling increasingly frustrated.

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On the whole, it appears that many organisations aren’t addressing this problem, with the same research showing that 80% of employers are not speaking to staff about when to miss a meeting. As a result, 49% said that they don’t feel comfortable declining a meeting even when they are too busy, while 46% attend meetings even if they don’t think it will be a productive use of their time.

TheSoul Publishing

Yet, some companies do appear to be tackling this meeting culture head-on, with TheSoul Publishing being one example. Back in 2019, the media company effectively decided to do away with internal meetings and moved towards an asynchronous communications policy. With an 80% remote-first workforce of over 2,700 employees spread across 70 countries, banning meetings forms a key part of this comms policy, which is a move away from communication that requires an immediate response.

HR Grapevine spoke to Patrik Wilkens, VP of Operations at TheSoul Publishing, to find out more about their decision to ban internal meetings, how this ‘no meeting’ concept works, and how to ensure that internal communications don’t suffer as a result.

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