The Power of a "No Meetings" Policy from a Company That Put It in Place
By Arthur Mamedov, COO of TheSoul Publishing
If you ask most employees today what they would change about their jobs, fewer calls and meetings would likely be at the top of their lists. Executives spend an average of 23 hours per week in scheduled meetings, and 71% of managers feel that meetings are unproductive and inefficient. To solve this problem, there is a clear step that companies can take - eliminate meetings altogether.
The Impact of Meetings on Employees’ Daily Work
Most companies use meetings in excess, and rather than helping teams to align on goals, meetings can create a “hurry up and wait” scenario. People have the tendency to hold off on taking action until the next touch-base, which creates bottlenecking. If employees are putting their individual tasks on hold to accommodate meetings, are spending hours on Zoom calls, and have little time for heads-down work, it’s a telltale sign there are too many meetings.
As a remote company with a global team of over 2000 located across 70 countries, employees of TheSoul Publishing collaborate with barely any meetings, without sending internal emails and instead communicate asynchronously. We’ve designed a process that allows for communication across time zones and where there is no need for everyone to be at their workspace at the same time. Employees work best without a forced schedule - and are most productive when they can connect with colleagues when they want and need to do so.
Rather than setting up meetings to project-manage, companies will have more success relying on asynchronous communication so employees can correspond and collaborate at their own pace - guided by the overall project timeframes.
How to Manage Productivity and Support Collaboration Without Meetings
Cutting out meetings empowers employees. Rather than living by a schedule they can’t control, they can truly manage their own to-do lists - helping them cross things off more efficiently.
In addition to hindering productivity, meetings can lead to a lack of transparency across an organization. Meetings behind closed doors adversely affect company communication, and keeping minutes does not always resolve this as it does not give the full picture of what was discussed.
Leaders must recognize that everyone works in his or her own way. If someone is most productive early in the day and a meeting is put on their calendar during that window, it can derail their workflow. With little return on time investment, the opportunity cost for meetings is often too high. Employees should be given the opportunity to work at their best, but scheduling blocks of calls can make that impossible.
Also, although it may seem counterintuitive, meetings often detract from effective collaboration. In the absence of meetings, employees will find ways to connect one-on-one as needed, at a pace that fits their communication styles and leads to stronger collaborative efforts.
Eliminating Meetings May Come with Surprises
Meetings are not the only way for employees to connect and develop relationships. Humans are naturally social beings and will seek out friendships and make connections with one another naturally - they do not need to be assigned a time to do so. People who want to socialize will build strong bonds in a more authentic way, often relying on the professional relationships they've built.
Without meetings, communication is incredibly clear and effective. Asynchronous communication helps teams collaborate well, and has proven again to be the best way to connect with colleagues. Rather than trying to recall something said in a group setting, employees can instead refer to a past project - in an asynchronous communication tool such as Asana, for example. Team members can also stay focused on the task at hand, and respond to messages when it is convenient for them - rather than the moment it is received. This helps maintain focus and allows employees time to formulate clear messages via written communication.
The benefits we have experienced are not exclusive to TheSoul Publishing. Other companies will likely realize the same advantages - the implementation of transparent communication processes will deliver stronger results from employees.
How Cutting Out Meetings Can Create a Better Company
The benefits of eliminating meetings are numerous, but the primary goal is to boost efficiency and productivity while ensuring people are able to spend time doing what they excel in, rather than getting involved in a process that does not provide value.
Drastically reducing meetings can also help organizations foster a better culture. Workplace cultures are not dependent on meetings; in fact, workplace culture can be built around this policy and flourish in other ways. Communicating your culture to employees openly and directly has a lot of value. At TheSoul Publishing, for example, we share videos to celebrate milestones and continue this throughout the employee lifecycle. In addition, creating virtual or in-person experiences where employees can engage outside of work will help bring them together. To find an activity your team will love, leaders may consider surveying teams to understand their interest areas to find something most team members will enjoy.
Bringing a No Meetings Policy Into Your Workplace
What does this mean for other organizations? A lot of digital companies can benefit from this, if both culture and infrastructure are in place. However, leaders cannot simply flip a switch overnight; they must first set up transparent and asynchronous communication processes across their company. Simply cancelling meetings doesn’t do the trick - you also need to eliminate internal emails, set up project management on the team level, and create a culture around the approach that’s clearly shared. Once those steps are implemented successfully, only then expect your ‘no meetings’ policy to yield positive results.
About Arthur Mamedov
As Chief Operating Officer, Arthur Mamedov oversees all global business operations for TheSoul Publishing, one of the world’s most popular online media companies. Since joining TheSoul Publishing in 2016, Arthur has played a crucial role in fostering strong, trusted relationships with the world’s largest social media companies, cementing a growing list of global distribution partners including Facebook and YouTube.
About TheSoul Publishing
TheSoul Publishing is an award-winning digital studio that produces entertaining, positive and original content for a global audience. One of the world’s most prolific and popular online media companies, TheSoul Publishing reaches over 1 billion social followers across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, and Snap. Its globally based creative team consistently delivers engaging and irresistibly shareable content for all ages — in 19 different languages — distributed via a social media-driven cross-platform network.
From cutting-edge 3D technology, to eye-catching stop motion, from fun live-action to catchy music videos, from inspirational craft projects to vibrant animation, TheSoul Publishing’s portfolio of media brands has it all. TheSoul Publishing’s universe of well-known channels includes 5-Minute Crafts, Bright Side, 123 GO!, Avocado Couple, La La Life, Frankenfood, Slick Slime Sam and Teen-Z. Its most-viewed channel, 5-Minute Crafts, is the number one DIY digital brand in the world and ranks among the Top-10 of all YouTube channels.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.