Last week I told you about remote work interviews, and how to standout to get the job.
This week I'm walking you through the best engagement tool you can use to retain your best remote employees: Having fewer meetings!
Yes, that's right! Having fewer meetings gives people more flexibility to do their best work and plan their schedule as they prefer. This creates happier teams and an heathy work environment.
This is a core component of my course Mastering Remote Work. But today, I'll tell you here the 6 steps I use to reduce meetings in my remote teams:
1) Avoid recurring meetings
For recurring processes (eg: weekly standup) make them async by default. Meetings are only booked in case there are blockers or other dependencies that require live discussion.
A meeting should be used as the exception, not the rule.
If you have recurring meetings in your team, add this to the agenda in the next occurrence:
• "How can we stop having this recurring meeting?".
You'll get weird looks at first, but then everyone will love it.
2) Don't jump on meetings to share information
If the meeting flow would be unidirectional (as in, one person talking and the others listening). Make it a piece of documentation instead. Notion and Loom are great tools that I use for this.
• You're collecting feedback on a new feature - Record a Loom and describe feedback you need in Notion.
• You're making a demo - Record a Loom and share it.
• You're asking for daily/weekly standup - Create a Notion page where everyone adds their written updates.
3) Always start a meeting with agenda & goals
If you decided you need to have a meeting for a certain work flow (which sometimes you do need). Make sure everyone contributes with:
• Clear agenda items
• Clear goals
4) Always end the meeting with action items & assignees
Make sure you reserve the last 5-10 minutes of any meeting to collaboratively create documentation on:
• Action items to be done as a meeting follow up
• Clear assignees to own each of them
• Deadlines, if relevant
Points 3️ and 4️ actually avoid meetings.
Having efficient meetings avoids the proverbial "Let's book a follow up meeting to continue this conversation".
People naturally love to talk. It's a trap! You can escape it by following efficient processes.
5) Have a "pre-meeting triage" template
For external meetings, push the other party to write the agenda and goals.
You'll find that:
• You can fulfil the goals by writing
• Or you're not even interested
• Or the written pre-work makes the meeting more efficient, if you have it
This is my "pre-meeting triage" template. Feel free to copy and use it yourself.
6) Plan ahead to avoid rush meetings to handle exceptions
When there's lack of planning, everything is an exception. Exceptions aren't treated with "business as usual" processes, they are fast tracked as an urgent matter.
When everything is urgent, nothing gets done!
Meetings are the natural fall back to handling urgent matters. These meetings are the worse for everyone, since they don't usually have an agenda. People just breath heavily together trying to identify the problem and solve it ASAP.
Reduce exceptions by planning ahead.
I hope these tips help you reduce meetings in your remote teams. Having async processes can be liberating and boost a team's productivity
Thank you for reading this newsletter issue until the end! If you're trying to push these processes in your team, drop me a line to tell me how it's going.
You can read all past editions of this newsletter here. Make sure to share the link with your friends and colleagues so they can read it too.
See you next Friday,
Startup CTO & Remote Work Lover