Why you should ban meetings on Wednesdays – Colin Browne

… or Thursdays … or at least one day per week …

How much of your and your employees’ time is taken up by meetings? There are obvious benefits to some of them, but meetings stand alone as the biggest time sucker of them all, whether they are necessary or not.

If you’ve ever had the experience of staying later at work, or switching your laptop on when the kids have gone to bed because a day of meetings prevented you from doing your real work, the time may be right to start implementing a ban.

I’ve written previously about redesigning meetings so that they make more sense but I’d like to suggest something even more serious as a means of getting on top of them.

One day per week, create an organisation-wide meeting ban, during which nobody is allowed to invite anyone else to anything that even vaguely resembles a meeting room.

Wednesday would be my preference since it’s the middle of the week, when energy is under the greatest threat, but you could opt for another day entirely.

The important thing is that you pick one. Here’s what I predict will happen when you do:

Those who prefer to get their heads down and not be bothered, can structure their day to work on tasks that require the most focus, specifically pushing them onto their Wednesday task list. It could be a good day to start early, because you’ve got complete control of the day.

Those who prefer to get out of the office and see customers, suppliers, or anyone else, need never set foot there in the first place. Their days can be structured to go from home to client to client to home, or something like that. You may prefer your salespeople to do this anyway, but for one day, unshackle them of the additional requirement to make the office their first port of call.

Those who prefer to meet with other people, will have to plan them better to maximise a four-day meeting week.

The risk of course is that the other four days get crammed with the meetings that don’t take place on Wednesday and that is something that would have to be managed, perhaps using some of the suggestions in the link above.

However you do it, the freedom of a meeting-free day achieves several things at once: it grants employees the flexibility of managing their own time, for 20% of the working week, it reduces the energy drain on the middle day of the week and should you wish it, it establishes a mindset that the organisation actively seeks to limit them.

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