The workplace has undergone revolutionary changes in the past several years. Avant-garde tech companies were the first to break the stale, depressing mold of cubicles, corner offices, and 9-5 jobs more than 20 years ago. In recent years, though, this trend has spread out to the wider working community. Nowadays, you can find forward-thinking companies creating a more modern workplace regardless of size, location, or services provided.
Despite all of this advancement, one staple of the traditional workplace continues to cause frustration. It is that of meetings. Can you relate? The following article will address common meeting problems and how to be successful at streamlining your meetings to meet modern workplace environments.
Common Meeting Problems
Many people hold meetings because they feel that is what they “should” be doing, not because there is truly a need for one. There’s nothing wrong with canceling the occasional regularly-scheduled meeting if nothing significant is on the agenda.
Speaking of agendas, there needs to be one…every time! Two of the most common complaints that employees have are that meetings are too long or have no stated purpose.
An Excuse to Exercise Power
This could be one of the most frustrating reasons on this list of common meeting meeting problems. Unfortunately, some people—especially managers and higher-ups—may see meetings as a way to remind everyone who is in charge.
In these situations, only a few people talk using the occasion to further their own goals, rather than achieving any collective consensus or genuine buy-in.
They Take People Away from the Real Work
This problem is somewhat of a necessary evil. While many people would love to avoid meetings entirely, but they have to understand that there are times getting together does serve an important purpose.
The problem is that every hour you spend in a meeting takes time from the work that you are expected to deliver on. For people who telecommute, who are required to travel to the office in order to attend meetings, workdays are even more interrupted and productivity reduced. The goal is to find that sweet spot between necessary evil and utility.
The good news is that intelligent meeting management is possible! You just have to learn how to streamline things.
Streamlining Solutions for Meetings
Utilize Modern Tools
Technology is cranking out so many new tools that it can be hard to choose the most appropriate options for your needs. However, there is a variety of meeting management software on the market these days that works well. Such software takes care of the most labor-intensive parts of meetings, such as scheduling, preparing agendas, and following up on action items. Some can even conduct sessions for you.
Integrating the cloud into meetings and/or meeting preparation can make like things easier for everyone. Namely, making information and documentation available to all parties in real time. This reduces confusion and makes everyone’s life easier.
Create a Flat Hierarchy
While many modern companies have attempted to flatten their hierarchies, it’s difficult to completely remove rankings and still have work flow smoothly.
Inside meetings, though, everyone should feel empowered to share their ideas, regardless of rank or position. Not only does open communication create a better sense of teamwork, but people who feel like they are dealing with their equals are more likely to persevere when faced with big challenges. A culture where everyone is encouraged to contribute to the conversation is more important than you think.
Integrate your Mobile Workforce
More and more people telecommute now. Whether they do it full-time or part-time, chances are, they could be missing out on meetings taking place in the office.
That doesn’t have to be the case, though. High-definition conferencing tools now make it feasible for employees to attend meetings virtually. And, we aren’t talking about the awkward, voice-only Skype calls of yesteryear.
Skype and other companies have devised ways to bring back that face-to-face element of a meeting. Plus, they offer screen-recording, screen-sharing, and file-sharing features to replicate the feel of a physical meeting that is just sometimes needed.
Keep Things Secure
All of these technological solutions may sound like a vast improvement over boring, old traditional meetings. And they are, but they come with a significant drawback, too—security concerns.
Moving all or even some of your meetings into a virtual space can set you up for security breaches. Since many meetings involve sensitive information of some sort, maintaining privacy is of utmost importance. There are two main types of security breaches that you should be aware of when utilizing modern meeting technology.
- The first is snooping, which refers to accessing audio communication shared over the web. Without properly secured communication lines, competitors can listen in on your meetings and glean valuable information.
- Hacking, on the other hand, refers to unlawfully accessing data in some form or fashion. Companies that have not established effective security protocols leave their employees open to hacking during meetings that utilize the internet. Such weak security protocols include failure to encrypt sensitive information or accepting weak, easily guessable passwords for log-ins.
Many of the most common complaints about meetings can be mitigated or solved entirely by rethinking what you’ve always done and, instead, considering a streamlined modern approach. Both overly-frequent and inefficient meetings can be improved by utilizing technology, by inviting only necessary attendees, and/or making sure you stick to planned topic(s).
Create a flat hierarchy within the meeting space, which will empower employees of all levels to share their thoughts. This approach also stops others from commandeering the agenda for their own benefit. Integrate your mobile workforce into relevant meetings allowing employees to maintain their work/life balance while still fully participating in company life and decision-making.
So, get streamlining and see for yourself how much better your meetings can be!