Hear me out, yes, there is nothing like a face-to-face meeting when it comes to communicating effectively. We may not get a full understanding from a conference call or an email, however, in the fast-paced environment of modern business, delaying decisions until such meetings occur can be detrimental to a business. Many fallen giants of business such as Sears and Blockbuster are victims of complacency and the failure of their leadership to quickly react to changing consumer habits and retail conditions. Slow decision making at senior level is mirrored at the lower levels, and only a change in company culture can effectively change this.
Most decisions are made during meetings, and the speed and channel through which these occur can have almost as much of an impact on the outcome than the actual decision themselves. Here are some ways a business can reduce physical meetings from their daily operations.
1. Use mobile apps
It’s so simple. Since many of us already find ourselves glued to our smartphones, we might as well make sure we’re being productive while doing so. Productivity apps such as Slack, are basically a chat based meeting room where discussions can be held, files shared and just be a general all-round communication tool. All you need is your phone with an internet connection, and decisions can be made in real-time wherever you are. Why schedule a physical meeting in a few days’ time, when instead you can discuss it immediately and make decisions on the spot? No more need to keep minutes of meetings as this is automatically part of using the app and no need to travel in from anywhere to participate.
2. Work remotely
In the current business climate, profit margins can be very fine, and daily operating costs can have a huge bearing on this. This is a major decision for any business, but how about considering removing the office from the equation completely? This may be overkill in order to remove the need for physical meetings, but it may make more sense for your bottom line if you work from home, or even rent a spot in a co-working space. This is more suited to smaller companies who may be starting out and who can take advantage of easy meeting room booking systems that come with the space. By working remotely, you can just alter your meeting methods from physical, to video conference calls or as mentioned in the previous point, mobile apps.
3. Only allow them to be scheduled once or twice a week
If you can’t completely remove physical meetings from your operations, then begin by limiting the time you can have them. Consider allowing them only at the start and end of the work week, where you can plan for and look back on what has happened during that time. By drastically reducing the time allocated to physical meetings, this should motivate the attendees to use the time efficiently and avoid any unnecessary discussions. Understandably, it can be hard to completely eliminate physical meetings and still get the work done correctly, especially if this is heavily ingrained in the company culture, but limiting how long and how often they occur can prove very beneficial to productivity in the long run.