Sunday, February 28, 2021

Meetings during COVID-19


If you are like most people, then you're at the stage of approaching burn out from all the meetings on the various platforms, accommodating people in all the time zones, or just those within your time zone who are inconsiderate of your need to shut down during the day to have personal time. 

Meetings have become intrusive - weekdays, evenings, nights, weekends; it just doesn't seem to stop. They also come in a variety of formats - meetings, webinars, huddles, and whatever other names people come up with depending on their country/culture. 

These intrusions into your household require the other members of your home to be quiet while you meet, having to put up with your discussions for which they have no interest, and after the meeting is completed; you may not be better off financially. 

Have we really identified the reason/benefits of all these meetings. Sure the topics are interesting, but what is the real benefit to participants. 




Recently, one of my colleagues showed me their calendar, and when I thought I was busy. My schedule paled in comparison and my days are packed. 

How do we get back control of our time? Do we have times allocated for when we will participate in meetings and when we won't. Though it may not be so easy for an employee, what if you are employed where you have greater flexibility. We need to implement mechanisms for coping with the plethora of meetings and become better at priority setting. 

A short while ago, I was having a conversation with another friend who has been getting request from their work place outside of working hours. Now their employer expects full compliance regarding work times from the employees. Yet, they do not honor the personal time of their employees. In short they are in boss mode rather than functioning as a leader. 

I have a friend who studied with me, got first class honors; and their approach was "the work has to be done and will be done". They never functioned on the mental commute, but was always fully engaged in the present. When they were working, that fully consumed them, and it was similar when they were playing. Never were they in one place worrying about what they should be doing in the next. The result? Success in their relatively active lifestyles - all around. 

To keep things on track here are some recommendations:

  • Have an agenda for meetings before they are set. 
  • Allocate enough time to each area and have a timekeeper. 
  • Avoid distractions where possible. 
  • Respect everyone's time; be on time. Cute stories of getting stuck in traffic don't cut it in a virtual environment. 
  • Ensure the minutes of the meeting are completed and distributed within 48 hours after the meeting so that decisions can be acted upon prior to the next meeting. Reading minutes at the next meeting for the first time since the last one is totally useless. Nothing is ever accomplished and participants quickly become disinterested in actually meeting. 
  • Keep records accessible to everyone, as necessary, in a central location. 
  • Don't micromanage. If you have to do so, then you need a different team member who doesn't require this "disservice". 
  • I function with dynamic teams who follow the aforementioned practices and these suggestions come from a true and tested environment. They are NOT theory. 
A tip for workers/trade unions, ensure that the rights of workers are protected in a virtual environment but be fair to ensure that the employees function from a standpoint of fairness and commitment rather than entitlement. 



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