Written by Cassie Wallace, Software Delivery Manager, Kiandra IT
It’s easy to feel busy when you have a day packed with meetings. Rushing from one meeting, to a stand-up, then sitting at your desk smashing out an email before you run to your next meeting. That’s what it was like for me anyway. Of course, we all know that being busy does not make you productive or effective. I’d been hearing about other companies who have instituted some meeting guidelines such as no-meeting-days and I did a bit of research and decided to trial it at Kiandra. The team were very accommodating and we all agreed to try ‘No Meeting Wednesday’ (NMW) over a 6-week trial period.
If you are short on time and can’t read to the end, I’ll put you out of your suspense. We are going to continue with No Meeting Wednesdays – it’s working! I encourage you to give it a try too.
The rules are simple.
- No meetings on Wednesdays (a meeting is defined as two or more people sitting down for more than five minutes)
- Daily stand-ups are allowed
- You cannot impact a client, so if they want to meet then you must break the rule.
After our trial we conducted a team survey and we gathered some encouraging results:
- 60% thought it was a good idea (32% were indifferent)
- 72% actively adhered to NMW
- 64% said it improved their productivity
- 92% want more meeting rigor.
While the stats are encouraging, there were other benefits on Wednesdays that really impressed me.
- I was able to progress my to-do list and get valuable work completed – actually completed. Not having to context switch meant I achieved more in less time
- With a clear runway of time I felt more encouraged to tackle the more difficult and time-consuming tasks instead of delaying them as I was always short on time
- The team was so accommodating and would respect people declining meetings or requesting they be rescheduled to another day
- The team would actively rethink the need for a meeting at all (even on other days) and ask for a quick five minute chat to solve a problem or make a decision
- I have been so productive on Wednesdays that the satisfaction and momentum of achieving so much more work has influenced how I manage the rest of the week. I actively avoid more meetings. I actively choose not to schedule unnecessary meetings. I am actively trying to schedule meetings together so I have a daily chunk of time to simply get stuff done.
If you are interested in trialling a meeting-free-day, then we do have some advice for you to make it work:
- It only works if the entire team are on board and the enthusiasm will wane if one of your Executives decides to organise a recurring meeting on your sacred day
- Give it a few weeks for the team to manage their calendars and reschedule meetings and get into the habit of being accountable for clearing the day
- Don’t make your meeting-free-day on a Monday or a Friday – there are too many urgent things to do on these days
- Don’t consider your meeting-free-day as a day to just catch up on emails. Make the commitment to do real work.