Meetings are an intrinsic part of professional life. Meetings provide employees the opportunity to share ideas, network, improve their understanding of each other, and update employees and management alike on new developments.
However, when meetings are unplanned, they disrupt the entire work environment. Without a set meeting agenda, it is difficult to know whose attendance is a must for the meeting to be a success. Do you need the large conference room or the small one?
Let’s look at three ways in which unplanned meetings can prove to be more harmful than effective.
Lack of preparation
Meetings are only productive when the meeting agenda has been devised in advance and the relevant people are made aware of the agenda and the time of the meeting.
Unplanned meetings catch people off guard; employees are not ready to discuss the meeting’s agenda. When called upon to highlight an issue, people are likely to not be ready to discuss.
Not only would people not be prepared for the meeting; some of them might not even be present in the office. Many offices now have workers who telecommute, and these employees must be notified ahead of time for them to be able to log on to their meeting manager software or online meeting apps.
Meetings are an important tool for sharing information, exchanging ideas or even raising concerns. Unplanned meetings defeat this purpose entirely.
Furthermore, unplanned meetings affect worker productivity and morale. Employees may feel that they have been put on the spot during unplanned meetings. These employees are then more likely to leave the meeting feeling less motivated and informed than before.
Meetings even planned ones, take up a substantial amount of time out of the workday.
However, when employees are prepared for a meeting, they take conscious steps to ensure that their work is done on time. They might take a shorter lunch break, spend less time exchanging greetings, or simply arrive earlier for work.
With an unplanned meeting, employees do not have an opportunity to prepare for the time lost. They probably had tasks to complete during the time that the unplanned meeting is taking place. Because of an unplanned meeting, employees may be late on deadlines.
The time crunch employees feel during an unplanned meeting has the potential to keep them distracted throughout the meeting. Chances are that employees would be preoccupied during the meeting and miss important information being shared.
Unplanned meetings end up reducing employee productivity even more than planned meetings do. Not only are the employees late in delivering their assigned work—adversely affecting project KPIs—they probably will not take away as much from the meeting as they would from a planned meeting.
No clear purpose
Successful meetings are run according to a set of rules. People have specific roles and the agenda of the meeting must be followed to ensure that the meeting is productive.
Without a clear and concise agenda, people cannot know what topics are to be discussed. People are not aware of the length of the meeting or what to expect from the meeting itself.
Without clearly defined roles, no one knows who is mediating the meeting. Several people may try to raise points that they think should be addressed first. People are likely to break off into groups to discuss the topics they think are noteworthy. This can result in chaos and confusion.
The minutes of the meeting may also be indecipherable.
A planned meeting is optimized with the view of increasing productivity and collaboration, whereas an unplanned meeting ends up adversely affecting productivity and hindering collaboration.
In order for a meeting to be productive, it is essential that people are expecting the meeting and are aware of its purpose. Online meeting management software can be used to make sure that people are notified about meetings with plenty of time to prepare accordingly.