In the era of remote work and Zoom meetings, it’s more important than ever to decide if work meetings are really necessary. Many employees felt that meetings were one of the biggest impediments to their productivity. Zoom meetings can be even worse since they make it almost too convenient to meet.

With that in mind, you’ll want to take these five steps the next time you’re pencilling in a work meeting. Would an email suffice instead? Answer that crucial question and increase everyone’s productivity by avoiding “too many meetings” syndrome.

1. Ask If a Decision Needs to Be Made

The first question to ask yourself is whether a decision must to be handled at the meeting. If there’s nothing that needs to be decided, a meeting may not be necessary.

Of course, not every decision will need a meeting, and not every meeting will be about making a decision. There are a few other reasons to hold a meeting. Sometimes, you’ll want to hold a meeting to keep everyone informed and up to date. A regularly scheduled update meeting can help everyone keep track of where their projects are and what tasks are priority. Meetings can also efficiently introduce a new policy to the team.

2. Does the Meeting Serve Team Building?

Another good reason to have a meeting is to engage in team-building. This is why update meetings are important.

Team-building meetings keep morale high. They can help employees connect with each other. In turn, they feel more motivated to complete their tasks, help their teammates, and contribute their best work.

Team-building meetings could also be a great place for troubleshooting and asking questions. They can provide learning experiences or an excellent forum for employees to share their expertise with each other.

Finally, team-building meetings can be fun. Of course, ask yourself the next two questions before you schedule a team-building meeting.

3. Who Really Needs to Be at the Meeting?

It’s often tempting to invite everyone on the team or in the department to a meeting. This can include certain stakeholders, such as managers or even C-suite members.

This is often a mistake. Inviting too many people and those who don’t have a clear role on a project or decision could bog down the meeting. They could derail the schedule, asking questions that have already been answered, or steering attention to other topics the meeting isn’t meant to address.

When you invite only those who need to be there, you can keep the meeting shorter and more focused. You’ll likely find you’re more productive.

4. How Long Does the Meeting Really Need to Be?

This next question is crucial to having a productive meeting. How long do you need to spend on this meeting?

One of the reasons employees tend to find meetings unproductive is that they almost always run overtime. Pull together an agenda, then evaluate how much time you’ll need to cover each item.

If the meeting is getting long, then you might have to narrow the scope. Can you split the meeting up? Are all of the talking points necessary?

Once you’ve set the agenda and the timeline, be sure to stick to it as much as possible. If you’ve scheduled an hour for the meeting, you’ll want to hold to that timeline as much as possible.

5. Is It Urgent?

Finally, ask yourself if the meeting is urgent. How soon do you need to talk about this subject? Can you put it off to a later date? An email might do the trick instead.

The Power of Technology Creates Better Productivity

Scheduling meetings wisely is key to a productive team. Meetings are necessary, but use these five steps to make sure you’re scheduling them when necessary. You could use your HRIS to take a look at how much time your team members are spending in meetings and how that’s impacting their productivity. In turn, you can use that data to help you make better decisions about when to schedule a meeting.