Too Many Meetings at Work? How To Cut Meetings in Half |

Too Many Meetings at Work? How To Cut Your Meetings by 50%

Posted by Luke Thomas

This playbook of weekly cadence of team updates works over and over again with our customers. We also use this playbook internally to only have approximately one or two routine in-person or video meetings a month. 

If you roll out the meetings listed below and in this video, you will cut down hours every single week that you spend in routine meetings with your team. 

What are the regular meetings that you have at work? 

First, start by thinking about the average routine meetings in the workplace. 

Here's what it typically looks like: 

  • At the beginning of the week, you might have some type of weekly staff meeting where people share what they aim to accomplish for the week. Maybe you discuss some blockers or some news or something else.The basic idea is you're trying to create alignment. 
  • The second meeting that a lot of tech businesses and SaaS companies have--especially on engineering and Scrum teams--are daily stand-ups. At the beginning of every morning, they quickly share what they did yesterday, what they’re working on today, and where they are stuck. 
  • Another common meeting is the one-on-one meeting between an employee and a manager. Usually, it's 30 minutes where the employee just quickly shares what's going on, and areas where they could use some help.

Combine all of those meetings together, and for the average team, it could take several hours every week. 

How to Do More with Less Meetings: 3 Meeting Types

But with Friday, you can do those meetings asynchronously instead of, or in addition to those meetings. 

Those meetings are part update, part blockers, and then a discussion about thorny topics or other difficulties in your way. 

With Friday, you can get the updates done before you meet. 

Here’s how: 

1. Monday Morning Kick-off and Staff Meeting

If you have a call every Monday at 9 a.m, you can quickly make that into an asynchronous update. You can ask questions like: 

  • How was your weekend? 
  • What will you accomplish this week? 

The reason why you should ask about the weekend is because it’s a fun and easy way to get to know your co-workers. 

If you create a team on Friday you can isolate and only ask a particular team instead of the whole company. You can also prompt participants to share an update in Slack and send a DM when people share responses.  

It is very similar to a Monday morning staff meeting where people go around in a circle sharing what they’re working on.

You could still do an in-person meeting like that if you’d like, but in Friday you can get the update done before you meet. 

The weekly team staff meeting is one of our recommended team update routines. They’re great for a team leader to help you understand the status of each person on your team and what they’re doing for the week ahead. 

You’ll know what they’re thinking about and how you might be able to help or course correct if needed. 

Start your staff meeting in Friday.  

2. Daily Standup

You can also run an asynchronous daily standup within Friday to cut down on the time that you spend in meetings. The daily standup questions are straightforward and are perfect for written text. 

Here are the questions for a daily standup: 

  • What did you accomplish yesterday? 
  • What are you working on today?
  • Do you have any blockers? 
  • Anything else you’d like to share? 

We added that last question because it’s kind of fun, but they also can say if/when they may be unavailable or have an appointment. 

At Friday, we have our daily standup regularly scheduled at 9am for the time zone that each person is in. In this routine, any participant will be able to see other participants’ responses. You can read more about daily standup best practices here

Another Power-Up to consider enabling are Kudos, which prompts team members to thank someone for the work they’ve been doing. 

The Daily Standup helps group transparency without requiring an additional meeting. 

Start your Daily Standup in Friday. 

3. One-on-One Meetings

Another typical meeting that managers have with their direct reports are one-on-one meetings. 

How can that experience be replicated in a remote and asynchronous environment? 

You can call this a weekly check-in or a weekly recap; there are several templates to choose from in Friday. 

Here are a sample of questions you can ask in a one-on-one meeting: 

• How was your week? In Friday, we ask people to quickly respond to this question using an emoji. It's a great way to gauge emotions and feelings during the week. 

For this particular routine, the team leader can see the responses because you’re trying to create the feedback loop of a one-on-one conversation and meeting. 

When it is only shared between the employee and the manager it creates a dynamic where you can kind of share a little bit more behind a screen than you may in person.

You often get better feedback when people have the chance to collect their thoughts and write something down instead of needing an immediate response. 

• Is there anything I can help with? Remember, you do not want to completely eliminate the in-person or synchronous one-on-one meeting, but you can change it from an event that just consistently happens to an event that happens if there's something that you

need to discuss. 

For example, if there is a blocker that we need to talk about, then schedule the meeting. However, if everything's going fine then perhaps the meeting isn’t needed.

• What are you looking forward to working on next? This helps a manager know what the employee or direct report is interested in, and what priorities are exciting for them. It’s also a subtle indicator to understand what they’re not as interested in and where you may need to add more coaching, resources, or to re-align expectations. 

Other questions to consider: 

  • What was the best part of this week?
  • Who would you like to thank?
  • Anything else you would like to share?

We put together this great guide on one-on-one meetings that will help you structure them and to run them even more effectively beyond the tips we’ve offered here. 

Start your one-on-one meetings in Friday. 

Add Your Meetings To Friday and Save Tons of Time

Now, think about these meetings in total. We have a Monday Morning Kickoff, an end-of-the week check-in/one-on-one and a regular, everyday standup. 

On Monday, there’s a meeting to kick things off by asking people what they aim to accomplish for the week. 

At the end of the week, you ask people to respond and react to how the week went and if there’s anything big picture that they need help with. 

Throughout the week there is a daily standup to see the immediate tasks people are working on and if there are any blockers or problems in their way impeding progress. 

If you do these three routines with your team using Friday, you will save at least an hour a week, probably upwards of two hours a week in meetings, and you will still get a similar level of information that you were getting previously in an in-person or video meeting. 

You don't necessarily need to eliminate the meeting altogether, but what we find is it when you're collecting this information, oftentimes you can cancel a lot of these meetings. 

If you roll out these three meetings, you will save hours every week in meetings. You will free up a lot more time to do really really important work while your team still feels connected. 

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