Do you love meetings? Do you enjoy taking a break from your work and talk - ehm, listen to your managers, stakeholders, customers, peers? I suppose you not. If you’re like me, 99% of your work life meetings have been a total waste of time.
For example, I remember one day I had 8 hours of meetings, well actually they were 4 different meetings of 2 hours, but with the same people and the same manager attending.
I also remember a boss sentence, “we will discuss later about this, and we will, because this topic is important for me”, usually meaning that we should never ever bring the discussion back.
I also remember another meeting, on friday evening, were we decided to use framework “X” to do something, so I started studying it in the weekend, only to find on monday that the company has decided to use another framework Y.
The list can go on, feel free to add your horror stories in the comments. I’m sure you had worse meetings than mine :)
But I’m here to say that I’ve also experienced another way of working: for some projects I had no meetings at all.
For example, referring to my remote work experience, when you start working remotely the first sentiment you feel is abandonment. It’s like, where’s my boss? Obviously I was not abandoned but that’s the first feeling you get.
Then I read a book about human centered work (in italian), and amongst other things there is an entire chapter on how to organize the team work. Before calling your next meeting, ask yourself if all the attendees are actually getting a benefit from it. (With this simple rule, 50% of my meetings could have been discarded).
Some meetings are strictly necessary. The main role of a boss is to give the strategic direction to the team, and there’s no email that can substitute the facial expression or the tone of voice.
So, let’s go back to the title of this post. Yes, I work remotely, and yes, I do two (small) meetings every day. Two video-meetings actually. The first one at 9:30 is to kick off the day, the second at 15:30 as a status update.
They don’t last long, usually in 5 minutes they are done, but it’s a ritual that helps me accomplish my tasks.
The best part is that we use a software where we can see each other in the face during the meeting, and the default is with webcam on. This actually gives a lot of humanity to remote working: as programmers, we are used to solve problems via chat, by typing, but that’s the slowest way to do that.
When you start introducing video calls as an option, and switch to that whenever it’s the clearest (& fastest) way to solve a problem, you’ll see the benefit.
So … should your company do video meetings every day? If your team is small enough, and you all work in the same time zone, why not. I suppose this approach doesn’t scale at all, but I still have to work for a big remote company so I don’t know how they organize their work. As a programmer, I like to see that managers - and peers - are interested in what I’m doing, and doing a meeting is the bare minimum for showing appreciation.