Death by meeting is real. And we’re here to resurrect every one of our team members who’s been buried alive by an unnecessarily overloaded calendar.
At my previous jobs, a common refrain was how much time people spent in meetings. Most would complain about how much work they still had to do. They hadn’t even been able to start on any of it because they were spending so much of their time in meetings talking about work.
Of course, there were some real pieces of work who would wear the number of meetings they attended as some sort of badge of honor.
But I’m not going to go into those types of personalities, because, quite honestly, they give me nightmares.
However, I would like to talk about how Formada instituted a No-Meeting Wednesday rule, and what it’s meant for me and for our team.
Formada has always had a daily team meeting. It is restricted to 60 minutes. While the meeting is socially flexible and usually contains some goofing off, which is a great way for us to build a team culture in a completely remote environment, this meeting does have a precise agenda.
We cover things like team status, project wins, roadblocks, operational updates, and more. We call this series of updates “The Daily Domino.” (We’ll save its history and lore for another blog post.)
Besides our daily(ish) team meeting, the only other standing internal meetings we have are our weekly 1×1 meetings between our managers and their direct reports.
We’ve never had that many internal meetings. So what would possess us — a very meeting-lite organization — to want a no-meeting day?
There are quite a few reasons, actually! Let’s get into them.
The benefits of having a day without meetings were massive for our small team. For anyone who has worked in a corporate environment where you were overloaded with meetings, we all can think of those rare days where we’d have a meeting-free calendar. The best, right? Well, here’s why we’re putting this approach in practice for our team.
For most of my professional career, there is often this feeling that hits early on the week where I say something like, “I just need some time to get this done.” The beauty of no-meeting Wednesdays is that I always have that time. No matter what, we have a day that is scheduled precisely for focused work.
There are some projects that are extremely difficult to jump in and out of. For example, web builds are usually much simpler if you have a solid block of hours to complete a batch of pages. Our paid media team also appreciates having a large block of time to get campaigns set up with their ads, landing pages, and targeting in one-go rather than spread across a few days.
We love getting together as a team, but it is nice to not have anything — even what can be considered “good stuff” — interrupting your day.
Wednesdays allow everyone to focus on work on their own terms. For me, it also makes me appreciate our team meetings because I usually come up with questions, topics, or goals for our next team meeting.
Building the Organization
Giving team members more time, also means that they have time to question the “why” behind what we do. You only ever really reach these moments when you have lots of time.
These days help promote process improvement, documentation, template building, and efficiency creation. We are a young company and are always trying to improve how we do things. Wednesdays give us that thoughtful opportunity every week.
How to Create a No-Meeting Day
This idea came about from no-meeting days I had heard about from other companies. We’re hardly original. However, it always seemed like some sort of unachievable pipe-dream to me, but with a young company, you just have to make the decision.
Choosing Wednesday was intentional as well. Hump day is often the most hated day of the week, but making it a no-meeting day changes that. It is also the day that most people don’t take off unless they are taking the full week off. This means that when people are out of the office at the beginning or end of the week, they still get dedicated time to work without interruption.
Here’s a quick list of our rules:
- No team meeting
- No 1×1’s
- No client meetings (excluding Sales)
- Avoid one-off meetings unless required and agreed to by all parties
It’s a pretty simple approach, but we’ve found it to be a highly effective one.
I highly recommend this to every organization of any size. While it might seem insurmountable at first, once the rules are set, it becomes second nature to the team and gives back so much more in productivity and morale.
Over time, I think you’ll find that not only will your team’s productivity increase, but it might also create a more thoughtful approach to how you and your team approach the meetings that you do have.
Meetings typically should accomplish two things — delivering information and spurring action. By creating more space in your team’s work calendars, you’re giving them more time to take the actions you want them to take, which will likely make the information they’re reporting that much more valuable.
So, give a no-meetings day a try. I’m confident that your team will appreciate it, and you’ll be impressed by the results it inspires.