Bosses: Enough to make workers commute for too many meetings.
Like that The cow Blanquartleadership expert and author of the flexible work book The suitcase office, in a recent interview with Fortune Connect, It’s fortune executive leadership community. The “worst” companies overload meetings, which he says are “not only killers of freedom, but killers of time.”
We know this before the pandemic, although few companies seem to have taken the hint. A September 2022 study from UNC Charlotte found that a full third of meetings are useless, and allowing expensive employees to attend them costs tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue each year.
“If you look at why the meetings are organized, how they are organized, and how they are organized—first of all, why are they organized?” he said. Most meetings, true to the cliché, can easily be replaced by an email. “There are dashboards and automatic information systems to know if something is happening or not.”
In fact, Blanquart added, putting people together when it’s not absolutely necessary is “kind of punishing them.” And even if eliminating meetings altogether is the answer is probably notholding them just for the sake of holding them is an expensive punishment for the workers.
“People spend—I just calculated this morning—$16,000 a year to commute, on average,” Blanquart said. “When that comes into the office to hear a manager talk about, ‘yeah we got our numbers, thanks for coming here, have a cup of coffee and a sandwich and go home,’ that’s disrespectful to our employees.”
After all, 84% of respondents to a FlexJobs survey says the best benefit of working remotely is the elimination of travel. That’s probably because it’s become so expensive—an annual average of $8,466, 31% more than pre-pandemic. In addition, they are taller; the Census Bureau FINDING the average trip by Americans has jumped 10% since 2006 for drivers, and doubled for those taking public transportation.
Meetings should go the way of the fax machine
Perhaps the misplaced emphasis on meetings stems from bosses feeling stuck in a pre-pandemic way of working. After all, Blanquart says we allow offices to remain firmly in the past. (Just famous no one wants to enter.)
“We are still in the same office where we introduced the typewriter and the rotary telephone; we did not redesign the concept,” said Blanquart. “We still have an office where there should be a fax machine in the corner and a typewriter on the side table. We are slowly evolving into a work environment that is ready for the new way of working and the technological world we are in today.
Traditional office spaces—along with other remnants of the past such as eight hour work day and the whole personal work week-now frozen in an “industry model,” said Blanquart, which he believes is allowed to live “past its sell-by date.” To the frustration of workers and bosses, “everything is based on 38- to 40-hour work weeks, but we’re not in that society anymore.”
Certainly not; just ask the knowledge workers. Almost everything of them (95%) want schedule flexibility, per a 10,000-person survey from Slack’s Future Forum. Some companies, such as Salesforceit took them.
But many companies still look to the past when looking forward. Each person is the best judge of their own productivity and what “success” looks like to them – and that probably doesn’t include commuting for a ton of meetings.
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