Remote work meetings: fewer is better

Remote Work Meetings
This is part twelve of a series on remote work principles. Read the previous post here where we talk about how timezones are the one thing you can't change.

Have you ever heard a coworker say, “that meeting should have been an email?” It turns out, most people think most meetings are generally pretty terrible, especially if they involve status updates.

If you want to build a more flexible workplace and tap into the power of remote work, you need to reduce the need to be present at the same moment in time to get work done.

Meetings take up a lot of time 

If you think about the journey to a more flexible workplace, meetings (especially unnecessary ones) might be the biggest roadblock. Organizations spend approximately 15% of their time in meetings. As a team leader, you may spend up to 50% of your time in meetings, which is crazy. According to Microsoft research, teams that were forced to go remote are spending 10% more time in meetings.

This increase is bad and makes remote work worse, not better!

What’s the secret to reducing your dependency on real-time meetings to get work done? Here’s a simple way to think about it.

If the meeting primarily consists of status updates or other forms of information sharing, you probably don’t need a meeting to accomplish this.

In the video below, I discuss this important topic:

If the meeting is centered around collaboration on a vague topic, relationship-building, or resolving blockers, you should probably keep the meeting. You need the fast feedback loop that real-time interaction provides.

The reality is that most meetings involve a mixture of both, especially routines like a weekly team meeting. The asynchronous information sharing and status updates serve as a foundation for richer discussion. So what do you do then?

It’s simple - get your updates out of the way before you show up. If you do this, you can spend half as much time in routine meetings and eliminate boring status update meetings for good.

See the final principle in the series - remote work starts with taking personal responsibility.