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Tips from a Recruiter: Say ‘Yes’ to Flexibility in the Workplace

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Remote work. More and more companies are embracing remote work (if you aren’t, you should be, but that’s for another blog). There are a lot of pros related to a remote office environment. There’s more time with our four-legged roommates (pets). There’s athleisure as an acceptable dress code. There’s no more sitting in traffic for two-hours roundtrip. There’s even greater employee output. But, there seems to be one surprising con. More meetings. 

It’s estimated that meetings have risen by nearly 13% compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to The National Bureau of Economic Research. So how does the increase in meetings affect the workplace? Here are some other stats from

  • Most employees attend 62 meetings per month. (You read that right. 62 meetings. Per person. Per month) 
  • Middle managers spend 35% of their time in meetings, while upper management spends 50% of their time in meetings 
  • 92% of employees find themselves multitasking during meetings 
  • More than 35% of employees reported that they spend two to five  hours per day in meetings, but don’t always achieve something to show for it

Surely, meetings are important and key to effective communication, planning, brainstorming, or even building team rapport; but it’s easy to fall prey to meeting too often. That’s why companies like Facebook (and your favorite tech PR and marketing agency, BAM) are embracing meeting-free days or weeks. 

What are some advantages of meeting-free days?

  • It allows time for those complex, time-consuming tasks to get done. No meetings means completed deliverables or projects that might otherwise keep getting pushed out
  • Productivity goes up. Deep work means laser-focus, which leads to greater output. Have you ever had an impressively productive day where you just checked a lot of boxes? You were probably in deep work,which probably means you had no distractions 
  • It allows everyone, including management, to get in the weeds. Again, management spends a lot of time in meetings, but keeping meeting-free days allows for them to also spend time “doing”
  • You have better meetings! When you purposely allow for less meetings, the ones you have are more productive and employee engagement increases significantly. If you implement time for “no meeting” blocks, everyone preps for and focuses on collaboration during actual meeting days

What’s the right way? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.. 

BAM embraces Flexible Fridays year-round. Fridays look different for each team member. One BAMf may be in deep work all day, while another has the flexibility to wrap up at 12 p.m. or another schedules that much-needed dentist appointment. This allows for more flexibility in your team’s weekly schedule and the option of increased output Monday through Thursday or deep-work Fridays. This means Fridays are meeting-free. BAM also implements “Reset Weeks” monthly. For one week every month, we encourage BAMfs to shift internal and external meetings. 

Meeting-free blocks, days, or weeks benefit everyone on your team (not just management). After you schedule meeting-free days, leaders should encourage everyone to make use of them. Ask your team for feedback on both meeting-free blocks and how to make scheduled meetings more efficient and effective. This way, you narrow down what works best for your organization and team. 

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