Once the initial shock wore off and we all realized our work lives were going to be upended from the pandemic, some of you began to look at what is usually termed "the bright side."
"I can work in my pajamas."
"I don't have to smell stinky reheated food in the office microwave."
"I don't have to attend meetings."
This last one, of course, didn't last long. As soon as the boss figured out how to use Zoom, meetings became even more of a big deal. They lasted hours. They included business and non-business items, such as how to make pizza out of dried beans and macaroni.
Now that we've settled into the routine of working remotely, or working with only some of the staff some of the time, it's time to rein back in those unruly meetings and establish some kind of order. Some things to think about:
1. Have an agenda. Just like in the old days when you met in person, meetings need an agenda -- and the meeting planner needs to stick to it.
2. Stick to a time limit. Without a time limit, meetings will expand. And expand. And expand. Try scheduling them for no longer than 50 minutes. That's a tip I got from a management guru -- he told me that by having a meeting from, say, 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m., it gives everyone time to take a potty break, check messages and be ready for an 11 a.m. appointment.
3. Be inclusive -- and exclusive. Zoom meetings mean that you need to get dressed and look decent, find something to keep your toddler busy and try and get your dog not to bark every time you shift in your chair. In other words, it can be a bit of a hassle. So, meeting planners need to think long and hard about who needs to be included in a Zoom meeting -- and perhaps even seek input from employees: "I'm having a meeting on XYZ. Are you OK with not being included, or is this something you want to sit in on?" At the same time, make sure you include everyone if the meeting is something like a morale booster or brainstorming session.