Unchain yourself from meeting overload: go asynchronous

by | Collaboration, Zoho News and Updates

We’ve all been there. It’s the start of the working week – you’re back in the office and your inbox is full to bursting. Your team appraisals are overdue and you’ve got a customer proposal to send by the end of the day. You look at your calendar and it’s full of meetings…long meetings. When are you ever going to get any real work done?

Meetings are the scourge of every manager because they’re often so time-consuming. Then, there’s the scheduling nightmare as you try to find a time that works for everyone.

What’s more, meetings can often feel very unproductive. A staggering 24 billion hours are wasted each year due to unproductive meetings. And at least 37% of employees consider unproductive meetings to be the biggest cost to their organisation.

In this blog, we’ll be looking at how businesses are tackling this problem and how asynchronous communication can help you reduce your reliance on meetings and enable you to make better use of your time.

A huge cost to the global economy

According to research carried out by Otter and Steven G. Rogelberg, Professor at the University of North Carolina, employees spend an average of 18 hours a week in meetings. But they want to decline 31% of these meetings. The same research showed that large organisations could save around $100m a year by cutting unnecessary meetings.

Last year, e-commerce platform Shopify Inc announced it was conducting a ‘calendar purge’ across its business – removing all recurring meetings with more than three people. Shopify now actively encourages workers to decline meetings, if at all possible, and there is a ‘no-meetings’ rule for Wednesdays.

And Shopify is not alone. Meta (Facebook’s parent company) and tech firm Twilio Inc have also followed suit and introduced non-meeting days.

There’s plenty of evidence to back up the benefits of reducing meeting overload. Researchers in the US recently surveyed 76 companies, with more than 1,000 employees each and operations in more than 50 countries.

When these companies introduced one non-meeting day each week, communication, engagement, and satisfaction all improved, resulting in decreased micromanagement and stress, and an increase in productivity.

So, the benefits of reducing the number of meetings are obvious. But how can we reduce our reliance? Asynchronous communication provides an ideal solution.

What is asynchronous communication?

Asynchronous communication provides a way for people to communicate without being present at the same time. It’s what you’re doing every time you send a WhatsApp or Slack message, use Facebook messenger or record a Loom video.

This type of communication offers many benefits, including:

Greater flexibility – because teams can share information at a time that suits them rather than being constrained by meetings designed around other people’s schedules.

Improved productivity – with fewer meetings in the diary, managers and their teams are freed up to focus on pressing work priorities.

Enhanced communication for hybrid or remote working – asynchronous communication is ideal for teams dispersed over different geographical areas or time zones.

Say goodbye to long, unproductive meetings

And now a new tool is taking asynchronous communication to a whole new level. WorkDrive Snap is a collaboration tool within Zoho WorkDrive. It enables you to quickly record video, audio or your screen from within the WorkDrive app and share it with your team. It’s just one of the latest features released in the new WorkDrive 4.0 update.

So, you could use WorkDrive Snap to brief your team on a new customer project and share some related information. Alternatively, say you’re dashing off on a work trip, you could record video feedback for a team member that they could watch while you’re away.

WorkDrive Snap isn’t a replacement for in-person meetings. Of course, there’ll always be a role for meetings as part of normal team working and collaboration. It’s important to gather together regularly either in person or via a video call.

Asynchronous communication just enables you to work smarter and more productively when real-time meetings aren’t required.

WorkDrive 4.0 features
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