Tuesday, March 28, 2023 | Ramadan 5, 1444 H
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The scourge of fruitless meetings!

Many people think that works meetings are a huge waste of time and that may be because most meetings prevent employees from working better. And in case you were wondering, it seems to me that the previous Corona pandemic (might made things worse!), as we all noticed that the number of meetings required for employees increased in varying proportions! But the real problem with meetings isn’t a lack of productivity — it’s the unhappiness you see on some employees’ faces! — especially when meetings are a waste of time and job satisfaction plummets. However, when job satisfaction declines, of course, so does a retention of happiness in general. Thus, for a good portion of people, cancelling meetings — or at least cutting them back — is one of the most direct ways to increase happiness.

Here is a fact that I do not mean to prejudice the value and importance of meetings. We are aware of the importance of works meetings in general, which focus on one or more of four tasks, including: sharing information, solving problems and making decisions, developing and implementing a strategy, or perhaps extracting information from the team after a period of performance!

However, I must point out that these are all good reasons to hold meetings. Because you may have attended many meetings that do not fall within any of these essential points for any meeting. For example, many meetings occur during a regular period of time as a matter of routine, without a specific reason. Only to help us feel like we’re accomplishing something!... and herein lies the error.

Therefore, those excessive and unproductive meetings will naturally reduce job satisfaction for several reasons. First, it generally increases fatigue as well as our subjective sense of our workload. Maybe you’ve had a day of meetings and then you’re exhausted and haven’t done much. Secondly, people tend to engage in superficial acting (faking feelings!) during works meetings, which is emotionally and psychologically exhausting!

Thus, if you want to be happier at work (or want your employees to be happier), I make a point of fighting the scourge of unproductive, time-consuming meetings at every opportunity.

And when they are really necessary and unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to make them less draining and more beneficial. For example: If you are the meeting organiser, cancel all meetings that have no clear agenda or purpose. Definitely take this tip with a grain of salt if you are employed! It is unlikely that it would be helpful, if your boss asked you why you missed all the staff meetings, to say: I read an article in Oman Daily Observer!

On the other hand, limiting meeting lengths is important to a degree. Productivity experts believe that twenty-five minutes is ideal, based on what research says is the optimal amount of time to focus.So,perhaps the obvious point for you and me: we can make meetings more effective by staying focused and getting to the point. Topic and a commitment to finish it within a short period.

In the end, if there is one rule to remember about works meetings, it is to use them as sparingly as possible for the sake of your productivity and happiness. We know that under ideal circumstances, meetings will be unnecessary, but also that conditions are not always perfect!

Dr Yousuf Ali Al mulla.

A physician, medical innovator and a writer.

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