Many thought leaders in the business and education world alike have agreed that meetings are one of the biggest time wasters they deal with. In fact, according to an infographic created by Atlassian, the average employee spends 31 hours each month in meetings and considers half of that time to be a complete waste. It goes without saying that all meetings aren’t a waste of time. However, over the years many feel that the number and length of meetings in their school district has gotten out of control. After all, if half of all meeting time feels like a waste, you’ve lost 15 hours. Think about what you and your team could be accomplishing with an extra 15 hours each month! Follow this guide for a few tips on how to cut down on meetings. Reclaim that lost time and use it to accomplish some amazing things in your district.
Reduce Meetings with Collaboration Software
According to the Huffington Post, the number one most effective way to reduce internal meetings is to implement collaboration software into your organization. If your district is like most, then most of your meetings likely revolve around status updates and check-ins for your school or district wide projects (we’ve all heard the saying, “That meeting could’ve been an email.”).
Collaboration software allows administrators to cut down on these meetings as much of the information they would be seeking is readily available to them. For example, LINQ allows administrators to have a real time line-of-sight into all of their district processes including how far along the process is toward completion, who is responsible for each step in the process and the progress they have made.
It also helps to identify any bottlenecks that may disrupt the process from being carried out successfully. Administrators can even send alerts to employees reminding them of tasks that need their attention, reducing the need for constant check-ins and status update meetings.
If you aren’t quite ready to implement a workflow automation software as comprehensive as LINQ, taking advantage of free tools such as Slack and Trello can still help to significantly reduce the time you and your staff spend in meetings. These allow you to instant message your colleagues, assign tasks and provide status updates all online.
There are a number of smaller steps you can take to reduce meetings in your school district without the use of collaborative technology as well. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective strategies we have seen across our partner districts.
Set an Intention for the Meeting
It’s not uncommon for staff to be in a meeting without a clue as to what the end goal is. This leads to a lot of frustration, and hesitancy to even attend. One of the best ways to set an intention is to require a meeting agenda. Ensure that it’s distributed to all meeting participants prior to the meeting. (And by prior, we mean at least a day or two in advance). This gives everyone a chance to review it.
Writing down exactly what you intend to cover in a meeting forces you to consider the importance of each topic. It’s also a time to question whether or not it is worth discussing. In addition, your team members can review it and come prepared with questions and notes. They may even come up with quick solutions to a problem you planned on discussing. An agenda can help to reduce the time spent in meetings and most likely reduce the total number of meetings overall.
Depending on what you’re discussing, you may want to get a meeting agenda approved by an administrator. LINQ allows employees and administrators to send and receive approval requests and provide verified e-signatures instantly and track their progress as they move through your administration. Hello, more time savings!
Limit Meetings to Specific Days
Another helpful strategy is to designate specific days of each week as “meeting days.” The rest are off limits.
There are a number of benefits to limiting meetings to only certain days. The most notable one being that you and your staff have greater control over your week. This also gives everyone longer stretches of uninterrupted work time to focus on strategic tasks and projects.
Picture this: Mondays are designated meeting days to plan out the week. Wednesdays are for status updates through Slack or an email. Everyone’s favorite day of the week, Friday, can be a quick survey form that your team can fill out. Use it to reflect on the week’s accomplishments, or provide positive feedback going into the weekend. A full five-day workweek, and only one scheduled meeting. Beautiful, isn’t it?
With the right technology and strategies in place, your district can free up a great deal of time each week. That’s time that can be used in ways that directly benefit your schools. Don’t let meetings stand in the way of achieving your school initiatives.
Give your team back valuable time in their day. Schedule a demo with us to learn more about reducing meetings and increasing efficiency across your district today!