Careers

Imagine there are no meetings

Illustration: Sebastian Francis  

Meetings can hinder the work that they should facilitate. With foresight, at the beginning of the lockdown, a handful of organisations put meetings in their place.

For Gunjan Arya, chief executive officer of OML Entertainment, this means Wednesdays don’t have any room for meetings.

Since March, her office has been observing what it calls ‘No Calls Wednesday’, which is an extension of ‘WFH Wednesday’ that the company started early this year.

Gunjan has always cherished her Wednesdays, considering the day “the most productive in the week”.

From an average of eight to nine meetings a day, on a Wednesday, it is down to three.

Keeping it short

“Even these meetings are short lasting anywhere from five to 10 minutes so that I can concentrate on the work that needs priority,” says Gunjan.

On a Wednesday, employees are discouraged from setting up conference calls and even calling people unless it is a matter of urgency. Teams are however expected to stay connected on Slack and email.

Gunjan says the idea has been well-received, and that includes some of her clients.

“If you make it a mandate and stick to it as a manager you are setting an example for your team,” says Gunjan.

Employees have also been instructed to ensure meetings don’t stretch on for an hour, unless absolutely necessary. “Our standard business meeting lasts 30 minutes,” she says.

At Razorpay, a payment gateway, the second Wednesday of every month is set aside as ‘No Meeting Days’. Besides, the organisation has also spelt out other rules that it expects employees to follow to avoid burnout. It has mandated employees to schedule meetings only between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

‘No meeting hour’

Hike encourages its employees to set up a ‘No meeting hour’ when an individual has the right to decline a meeting.

Manufacturing company Pidilite has a blanket ban on meetings between 1 p.m. and 2.30 p.m. during week days; and during weekends.

Prione has a dedicated “downtime” between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. every day wherein employees are advised to not schedule any meetings. Similarly, employees are advised to disconnect post 7 p.m. and before 9 a.m.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 4:27:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/careers/imagine-there-are-no-meetings/article32622181.ece

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