If so, is that necessarily a bad thing for your organisation?
Meetings in the workplace take myriad forms , have multiple aspirations, primarily decision making in one form or another, with numerous formats depending on the size, nature, culture - and good intentions- of any business.
All organisations have employees who complain about meetings they attend and the time wasted, with some justification. Theories of what works and what clearly doesn't have been known for decades, with solutions. Remember " stand up" meetings, to save participants time?
The latest study , by Patrik Hall, a professor at Malmo University, Sweden, into the increase in numbers of meetings in organisations despite their unpopularity and downsides, has come up with the latest "plus" point for holding them - as at least therapy for employees attending, if nothing else is achieved.
He recognises that "most workers were not engaged by meetings" and that workplace meetings were poor in producing measurable outputs. But he explains that meetings enable employees to communicate with each other, express their views about the organisation ( and complain) or create an identity together as a team, department, or organisation. Hence therapy for the employees.
All highly valuable of itself and it can assist with employee motivation and thus productivity in all forms.
But frequent bad meetings can have the opposite effect and motivational gatherings can be done in different ways rather than be seen as the minimum benefit from numerous expensive, and increasing numbers of, poor work meetings.
So whilst " therapy" is great as far as it goes, it seems a huge amount of time and energy to expend on meetings for that benefit alone.
It therefore seems evident that it is essential for businesses to radically improve the quality and content of workplace meetings, to ensure they are more positive and productive - without wasting employees and managers valuable time.
How can employers do this? Some tips for meetings:
- have a clear purpose and explain it
- select attendees appropriately
- explain the decisions to be considered or made
- set start and end time - finish on time
- effective chairing of the meeting is crucial
- provide training for chairs of meetings
- the chair should guide and direct discussions and manage the meeting
- genuinely enable all participants to contribute if they wish
- don't allow one person to over dominate
- sum up the meeting and next steps at the end.
Modern meetings are not about decision making but should be thought of as a form of “therapy” for employees, according to an academic who has led a new study into the topic. Patrik Hall, a professor in political science at Malmö University in Sweden, said the right type of meeting could have a positive effect by giving employees an outlet at work. But he said most workers were not engaged by meetings, and most work gatherings failed to lead to measurable output.