We recently developed a product in the Happy at Work Project to create better meetings – or in our parlance happy meetings. We tested it on a few organizations and one group of leaders told us, that they normally have 20-30 hours worth of meetings a week. I was flabbergasted.
Our product aims at making meetings more fun, productive and dynamic by distributing ownership and responsibility for the meeting’s content from one person (typically the manager) to the entire group. When everyone is involved in setting the agenda and prioritizing items, meeting participants become more focused, engaged and creative.
And now The Guardian reports on a study on meetings which found that:
1. The more meetings one has to attend, the greater the negative effects
2. The more time one spends in meetings, the greater the negative effects
The results speak volumes. “It is impressive,” Luong and Rogelberg write in their summary, “that a general relationship between meeting load and the employee’s level of fatigue and subjective workload was found”. Their central insight, they say, is the concept of “the meeting as one more type of hassle or interruption that can occur for individuals”.
Notice that it is not meetings per se that are annoying people – it’s bad meetings. I’m pretty sure that fun, engaging, productive meetings would simply make people happier at work.
Here’s my question to you: What do you think it takes, to make meetings fun and productive rather than boring and stressful?