Let's face it: The way we work has evolved, but our approach to meetings hasn't. The recent shift to remote and hybrid work models offered businesses a chance to rethink how we connect, communicate, and get things done. But lots of orgs are still struggling to adapt how they work, instead falling back on old habits, including an over-reliance on meetings.
With huge companies like Shopify purging all meetings from calendars earlier this year, it's clear there's growing awareness of the problem and an appetite for change. Craft recently conducted a comprehensive study, asking 2000 hybrid workers in the US about their meeting schedules as well as how meetings make them feel — and the insights are eye-opening.
Here’s a glimpse of what we've discovered and some actionable tips to help you combat meeting fatigue without sacrificing productivity or teamwork.
The stark reality of today's work meetings
- An overwhelming meeting culture: A significant 59% of workers believe they could spend less time in meetings. An average worker clocks in about four hours of meetings every week, and this jumps even higher for managers. This shows an overarching feeling of inefficiency, suggesting that the actual time spent in meetings might not always translate into productivity.
- The ROI conundrum: A mere 25% of employees consistently feel prepared for meetings. Unsurprisingly, 35% felt their last meetings were unproductive. Unprepared participants lead to meetings that don't provide value, wasting precious time and resources.
- The anxiety trigger: A massive 80% of workers report feeling anxious about attending work meetings. Beyond just productivity, excessive or unproductive meetings can negatively impact the mental well-being of employees, which can have negative effects on your team and your business.
- The call for async communication: About 72% of employees believe that recent meetings could have been replaced with written communications. Employees are recognizing that not every update requires a face-to-face meeting, emphasizing the potential efficiency of asynchronous communication.
- The siloed team phenomenon: Even though 70% of workers understand the value of staying updated on their colleagues' work, almost two-thirds feel it's challenging to do so. This suggests a disconnect between departments or teams, leading to reduced efficiency and collaboration.
The async advantage
One key takeaway from our study is the importance of embracing asynchronous (async) communication. This form of communication offers flexibility, creates visibility without overwhelming team members, and can help break down information silos within an organization. But how exactly do you transition from a culture of back-to-back meetings to one that leverages async methods effectively?
- Embrace asynchronous communication: Implementing written, async communication can empower teams, offer flexibility, boost efficiency, and promote transparency.
- Make cultural shifts: Breaking free from a meeting-first mindset requires a cultural transformation. This means promoting asynchronous communication benefits, fostering intentionality, and seeking employee feedback.
- Tool up: Investing in the right collaboration tools that support asynchronous communication is vital. Choose user-friendly tools, provide training, and establish a feedback loop to ensure ongoing adaptability.
- Reframe meetings: It's not about eliminating meetings completely but making them more intentional and effective. Adopt a combination of async communication and focused meetings to nurture connections and drive innovation.
- Enhance meeting quality: Before scheduling a meeting, evaluate its necessity. Set clear agendas, encourage preparation, collect feedback, and when possible, meet face-to-face to avoid the pitfalls of video conferencing.
Your guide to making meetings matter
How can you balance your approach to meetings and async communication? Our report lays out strategies that can help your meetings be more intentional and productive, suggesting a balance between old-school, in-person sessions and modern, digital tooling. Want to dive into the full findings and get actionable recommendations tailored to your team's unique challenges?