Most of the time, we do things, because that’s just what we do and we do them that way because that’s how we’ve always done them. I say, to hell with that.

In recent a radio interview where we spoke about Shaking Up Business As Usual. We covered meetings, email and lunch and how we can shake them up and leverage them to create better employee experiences and improved productivity.

If you’d like to listen rather than read this is for you, if reading is your thing, I’ll continue below.

Meetings:

Why do we default to 1 hour for meetings? Who wrote what, in which ‘book of conventional wisdom’ that insisted that the content we need to cover needs 1 hour? I’d be prepared to wager that you could have gotten it done in 45min or even 30min. With 1 hour meetings dotted throughout our calendar on any given day, we often end up with very little, uninterrupted focus time, to actually get work done.

The Big Difference

We’re seeing a shift away from 1 hour meetings throughout the day to an allocated block of 2-3 hours per day, in the morning or afternoon for meetings. In this block you can have 1 x 1 hour meeting, 1 x 45min meeting & 1 x 15min meeting, or you might want 4 x 30 min meetings, you can splice up the time in any way you’d like. The point is that you get your day back and you have more productive meetings with a lot less waffle!

Another option is blocking out a day in your calendar for avoiding meetings. Asana do‘No Meeting Wednesdays’. The point, is to give people a day of focused, uninterrupted productivity.

Follow Jeff Bezos’ 2 Pizza Rule’ when it comes to inviting people to the meeting. Never have more people in the room than you can feed with two pizzas.

Finding yourself in meetings that you really don’t need to be in – use the ‘Law of Two Feet

“Any time you’re in a meeting where you’re not contributing nor adding value – you are encouraged to use your two feet and find a place where you can”

Email:

The majority of us suffer from email overload. Be it an over-zealous ‘cc’ culture or a ‘chronic avoidance of face-to-face communication’ culture, we all feel the effects of inbox pollution. Add to this that ever since our phones and smart devices became an extension of our computers, we find our selves on an ‘electronic leash’ at all times.

The Big Difference

The French have really set the precedent with a law banning email after hours. For the rest of us here are a few things we at Strive are seeing happen in the world of business to ease the email overload:

A Chicago based PR company has implemented an ‘After Hours Email Black-Out Policy’ where employees are blocked from accessing emails after hours. They have found that since they implemented the policy their employees come into work so much fresher the next day.

We’re seeing manufacturing plants set their servers to delete emails sent to employees who are on leave and reroute them to another employee who can deal with the problem. Virgin Management, part of the Virgin group block employee’s email access for 2 hours every Wednesday and encourage them to use the time to connect with their colleagues.

Lunch

This may seem like a strange addition to this list but lunch is becoming a powerful tool in many organisations. Sitting at your desk for 8 hours does not mean that you are putting out 8 hours of productivity.

The Big Difference

Lunch is great reason to disconnect from your screen in order to connect with your colleagues. We are seeing companies ban eating lunch at your desk. This means people eat together in a common area. Connecting with colleagues from their own or different departments.

Companies have been offering free or subsidised food for ages, but those who don’t have that sort of budget are getting smart around creating communal spaces where people get together with their own food. Yes, you may have people away from their desks for 30-45 minutes, but that is an island of ‘lost productivity’ in a see of benefits. These benefits include people forming bonds and connections at work, which are vital to employee experience, silo’s starting to break down as we get familiar with the other people in the company and employees go back to work refreshed after properly disconnecting for a short while.

So there you have it, quick, simple and easy to implement little things that you can do to make a big difference to employee experience at work.

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