Meeting Culture

Hello, it’s Jack again and welcome to another Olywel blog.

Boundaries, permission and expectations have all become blurred since we started to work from home more often.

This blog is all about meeting culture and some of my ideas on how to change your meeting culture to better suit your well-being and in turn, boost the productivity and performance of you and your people.

Not all of these ideas will suit you or your organisation. They might however inspire a few ideas of your own. Please let us know if you do come up with some creative ideas, we’d love to hear them and share them with our audience.

Meeting durations

If you schedule a meeting with me you will notice there are no 30-minute or 60-minute options.

These options fit well into a calendar these tend to be the most common meeting lengths, however, they do not help us in the slightest. If we book in that half an hour or an hour, they are very rarely standalone meetings and this ends up with us hopping from one meeting to another without a chance to debrief, destress, prepare or get a cup of tea.

This is why my meeting options are 25 or 55 minutes. This allows me that space between each meeting, reducing meeting and screen fatigue.

Meeting boundaries

Now that people can invade our home through the virtual world, we have grown even worse at defining our working hours.

In fact, NordVPN claimed that UK employees have been adding around two hours to each workday, equating to around an extra week of work per month.

So how do we combat this?

How about no meetings before 10 am or after 430 pm to encourage people to work within their contracted hours? With flexible working and people’s productivity peaks being at certain times, this is something you may want to change depending on your organisation and workforce.

One complaint I regularly hear is how people’s lunch breaks not being respected so let’s put some importance on this. Block out your lunch hour in your diary with a ‘well-being’ meeting.

How often do you feel really productive and it gets interrupted by another meeting? Or maybe you have a deadline, yet people keep booking in time and you don’t feel you can change or cancel them?

For me, I like to have a ‘No meeting Friday’ rule. This allows me to have a block of time to focus on anything I need to complete or prepare so that I can go into the weekend and really switch off and enjoy my time.

What are the meetings about?

Do meetings always have to be about business?

We are in a world now where the majority of us are craving the social connection we once had in our day-to-day lives.

One thing I love to see is when meetings are started with a normal conversation rather than jumping straight into the business agenda. You might even be as rebellious as to start your meeting with some mindfulness or breathwork?

As an avid sports fan, I have noticed many sports changing their own meeting routines and habits. You can now see players in many sports practising the box breathing technique in every huddle before they talk about tactics. This allows the players to control their anxieties and refocus. It is something I will be bringing in for the athletes I coach in track and field before and during a session or competition.

Other ideas related to this could be to encourage phone calls rather than sitting on video. This allows us to have some time away from a screen and even do a lap of the garden, local park or the block whilst working. Work and physical activity; double tick.

We could encourage non-work meetings. Daily or weekly check-ins over a cup of tea. This is something you can also get creative with, but maybe hold back on any more Zoom quizzes…

Leadership and management

I appreciate that it is far easier for me to type these ideas rather than physically implementing them into your workplace.

This is where we need leaders and management to step up and start role-modelling the positive behaviours discussed above. This will show people within the workplace that their well-being is the priority and the organisation is truly committed to putting people first by changing the culture.

Now, nothing here is revolutionary or particularly exciting, but small cultural changes have long term success.

It’s time to be proactive and none of the ideas requires you to dive into the piggy bank. So, just maybe, you can implement some of these ideas to show your people you are making their well-being one of your top priorities.


I will regularly update our subscribers with information, advice and guidance on wellbeing and performance in the workplace – from our thoughts on the latest news and findings, expert guests, to top tips on improving workplace culture and boosting employee wellbeing.

Keep safe and keep well,

Jack

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