employee with meeting overload

Meeting overload contributes to employee stress, which is already at an all-time high, according to Gallup. Of course, meetings are necessary for collaborations and to move business forward, but when they begin to fill employees’ entire calendars, it leaves little to no time to get anything done.

Some companies have fallen into a culture of constantly scheduling employees for check-ins, debriefs, status updates, and Teams calls which hinders both productivity and quality of work when employees become burned out. Changing the overwhelming meeting culture starts at the top and here are three tips to reduce meeting overload.

Keep Meetings Efficient

Meeting efficiency is one of the most crucial ways to reduce time spent in meetings and improve engagement with attendees. Effective meetings start with good habits from leadership like punctuality, organization, and meeting etiquette. For instance, when high-level managers consistently arrive at meetings on time, that sends an important message — and when they’re usually late, that sends a message as well.

To reduce meeting overload, start meetings at the appointed time, follow an agenda (that has preferably been sent to attendees prior to the meeting) and maintain a professional environment where employees can stay focused on the task at hand. (For more tips on meeting efficiency, check out this Tribe blog.)

That’s not to say that meetings shouldn’t include a little time for small talk and building camaraderie. Especially in a hybrid workplace, meetings are how employees build human connections with each other.

Block Off Time

One of Tribe’s clients has established ‘Thinking Thursdays’ to give associates a meeting-free block of time. The CEO sends out a weekly calendar invite for Thursday afternoons that carves out a chunk of hours employees can use to focus on head-down work. The entire company is urged to respect this time and not schedule meetings on top of it.

This system not only promotes dedication to work that tends to be put off due to meetings but also signals to the company that focused work is valuable and that it’s important to protect that thinking time. It also demonstrates that leadership is committed to reducing meeting overload.

Allow for Feedback

Shifting a meeting-centric culture from meeting overload to meeting efficiency is a process, and one that benefits from employee feedback. Include a question or two about meeting culture in your employee engagement surveys or use meeting overload as the topic for a pulse survey. You could also start a conversation on your intranet or any social platforms you use internally, such as Yammer or Slack. Interested reducing meeting overload in your culture? Tribe can help.

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