Beating Meetings in the Office

Most of us in mining will agree that we have too many meetings, using up too much of our time, but it’s really hard to do much about it. I would spend around half of my time in a meeting including some days that are wall to wall meetings. I often reflect that if had an extra hour each day to get the real work done, then that would make a material difference to my effectiveness. Now, I think that a lot of our time in meetings is wasted and we often subconsciously find ways to fill the meeting agenda to use the whole time slot.

One hour is the default meeting time allocation because that’s what pops up in MS Outlook. Short meetings are by default half an hour because it’s half of the default meeting duration. Recently, I have begun fighting back. I think that if we are challenged to shorten meetings, then most meetings could be done in 15 minutes without losing any effectiveness.

So I have changed my default meeting duration to 15 minutes. If a robust justification is required for meetings longer than 15 minutes, then the culture will change to one of time efficiency. Imagine if everyone simultaneously went from having 5 hours a day of meetings down to 2 hours? We would have 30% more time to solve problems, be creative and pursue worthwhile initiatives. The payback would be much more than just the value of the staff labour saving.