How to find a meeting time that works for everyone

Organising a meeting can be one of your greatest workplace challenges. You may wonder how to find a meeting time that works for everyone when you’re trying to coordinate with colleagues, clients and prospects, all with their own busy schedules.

Everyone’s working day can be a little hectic from time to time, so trying to plan a meeting that’s convenient for all can seem a little tricky. It can be a time-consuming task, with seemingly endless emails flying back and forth.

© DC Studio /

If you’re thinking there must be a better way, you’re right! Take advantage of collaborative meeting tools to make it easier to schedule events without losing sleep over it.

How to plan ahead for a meeting

When trying to plan a meeting that works for everyone, the first step is determining how many people will be attending and then establish their availability.

This is particularly demanding when delegates are attending not only in person, but also through video conferencing from different offices and time zones.

Tools such as Google Calendar can enable you to browse through each delegate’s availability to pick a time when everyone’s free.

Does the size of the meeting matter?

When coordinating meeting times, yes, size does matter. If you’re organising a meeting with just a couple of people, it’s more efficient to give them the times that will work for you, rather than asking when they’re available.

When you’ve agreed a mutually convenient timeslot, set up the event immediately, adding it to all your calendars. Streamline the process as much as possible by using a meeting tool.

When you’re organising a larger meeting with multiple attendees, potential schedule conflicts come into play. Before you finalise the date, send out a poll beforehand to gauge what everyone’s schedule looks like.

There’s never any way to guarantee everyone can attend, but make sure you record everyone’s responses. Pick the most suitable date and time and send out an email right away, so no one misses any important information.

What factors should you consider?

First, consider the type of meeting and whether delegates will be attending in person, via video link, or a hybrid of both. The most popular location for international meetings is London, a vibrant city which has been the UK’s centre of finance and business for generations.

When you’re booking professional meeting rooms, London has plenty to offer, including the best transport links, accommodation and places to dine out after the day’s business ends. Whether you need a large conference room, equipped with the most up-to-date technology, a more intimate setting, or state-of-the-art training rooms, London is hard to beat.

Finding a suitable time for delegates across different countries, who are joining you by video link, largely depends on how big the time difference is. When you’re several hours apart, it makes it much more challenging to find a mutually convenient time.

If there’s only a difference of one to two hours, setting up a meeting should be relatively easy. However, if you’re based in London and your colleague is in New York, this is a five-hour difference. You may feel it’s better to host the meeting at noon UK-time, but it will be only 7 am in New York, so not ideal.

On occasion, it may be necessary to schedule more than one meeting to accommodate colleagues if the various time zones are simply too far apart to make it work. If this is the case, set up a system whereby delegates at each meeting receive the minutes from the one they didn’t attend, as well as their own. Send them out by email and receive an automatic notification when each email is opened so you know who’s in the loop.

Also, consider which department the attendees work in and take into account their busiest times. For example, sales teams may not find it convenient to attend a time-consuming meeting towards the end of the month, when they may be chasing targets.

When is a good time for a meeting?

There’s never one time that’s good for a meeting, as there are so many variables to take into account.

In general terms, research shows mid-morning meetings are usually more effective. Attendees are more alert, they’ve had time to settle in and complete their daily tasks and they haven’t been bogged down by stress or fatigue yet.

If you hold a meeting first thing in the morning, there’s more chance of people being late and feeling unprepared. It’s best to keep early morning meetings short, such as 15 to 30 minutes. If a meeting starts just before lunch, attendees tend to feel hungry, and they can’t concentrate as well.

Immediately after lunch, workers tend to feel a little sluggish if they have just eaten a big meal. However, by about 2 pm, they will feel the benefit of having taken a break and dined. The high energy this produces will make them more receptive.

If you’re planning a meeting late in the afternoon, just before people are anticipating going home for the day, concentration is not as high as it is earlier in the day.

Surveys have also suggested Mondays and Fridays are often the least effective days to hold a meeting. More employees are likely to be unavailable due to using their holiday entitlement to take a three-day weekend.

Also, some employees still feel in weekend mode on Monday morning, and they aren’t as alert. On a Friday, they may already be thinking about the weekend and sot they’re less receptive. In terms of participation and productivity, meetings are normally best held on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

Should meetings always be in working hours?

When you’re trying to find a suitable meeting time that works for everyone, especially if people from different time zones are attending online, you may have to consider some people will be outside their normal working hours.

It’s normally preferable to hold meetings during the regular working day, unless this is absolutely impossible. If you’re a modern company with flexible working hours, this won’t be as big an issue as it may be for one with a traditional 9-5 structure.

Whether you’re having to call in some individuals on their day off or holding the meeting in the early evening or weekend, outside everyone’s regular hours, it may cause bad feeling. If you’ve reserved a contractual right to ask employees to work additional hours on occasion, arguably you could ask your workforce to attend at any reasonable hour.

However, it’s better to try and organise any meeting within delegates’ normal working hours to avoid feelings of resentment. When people are already working hard and trying to maintain a good work/life balance, asking them to attend an out-of-hours meeting is unlikely to go down well.

Always do your utmost to find a meeting time that works for everyone, without impacting home life.

Share this post


Blog Latest