Are breakfast meetings a good idea – or will participants still be half asleep? And should you have meetings over lunch or in the afternoon? We look at the best times for holding productive meetings.
Choosing the right day and time to have a meeting can directly impact productivity. Mondays and Fridays are the worst times to hold meetings as people are either rushing to get home on Fridays or still in weekend mode on Mondays. But if the best days for meetings are Tuesday-Thursday, when’s the best time?
1. Avoid early mornings
Early morning meetings should be avoided as some people are likely to still be sleepy and not functioning at their best. Also meetings held first thing mean that employees have to prepare for it the previous day or come in extra early to get ready, which they may resent. First thing in the morning is when most people are checking and responding to emails and enjoying a coffee, so they may get annoyed at being dragged away from their desk.
2. Mid-mornings best for energy levels
Once they’ve had their morning caffeine boost, most people function better in the morning. Around 10am is a good time to hold a meeting because people have more energy. Experts say that meetings are best held in 45 minute chunks as after that people lose concentration. If meetings must be longer, break them up and give attendees the chance to get some fresh air or get a drink. It’s no good just ploughing through the agenda to get through it if no-one’s listening.
3. Late afternoon meetings can be counter-productive
It’s probably not the best idea to schedule an important meeting at 4.30 as most people will be clock-watching and thinking about home-time. However, if you want to get through things quickly and avoid long discussions, inviting people to a late afternoon meeting can work wonders. You’ll rattle through the agenda in no time as everyone just wants to go home.
4. Lunchtime meetings can work – but provide food
Lunchtime meetings can be effective, but make sure that you provide food, or everyone will be hungry and more focused on their rumbling stomachs than coming up with creative ideas. However some employees may resent having to eat and work at the same time. If you must call a lunchtime meeting, set aside half an hour to eat and socialise before getting down to business. But don’t let the meeting go on for too long as energy levels can drop straight after meals.
5. Don’t schedule meetings straight after lunch
Avoid calling a meeting straight after lunch as people will be sluggish after eating a meal. Leave it until around 2.30pm to ensure that everyone’s energy levels are restored.
6. Mid-week and mid-afternoons are preferable
According to a survey by meeting planning tool WhenIsGood, the time when most people are likely to accept a meeting is Tuesday at 3pm. They’ve got all their tasks out of the way on Monday, but have yet to get bogged down in work during the rest of the week. Take advantage of this and get those meetings booked in!
7. Consider evenings for high-powered meetings
If senior management need to have an important meeting, you could consider arranging this for after 6pm once everyone else has gone home and the office is quiet. This can be useful if you have to discuss sensitive information, or if your business has global offices in different time zones. Just try not to do it too often, as even the bosses want to go home at some point.
Posted by Ashleigh Sharp
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