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The Rise of the 15-Minute Meeting Could Be the Fall Of Employee Satisfaction

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The 15-minute meeting concept has been floating around and gaining momentum in recent months. The idea of shorter meetings holds great appeal. After all it should mean less time in meetings, more streamlined and efficient conversations, and more time back in the day. But (super) speedy meetings may not thin out a calendar as we imagine, and don’t expect them to yield the best results. As their popularity rises, so do the risks. 

From decreasing team camaraderie to damaging creative collaboration, here are three potential implications to consider before adopting the 15-minute meeting policy for your business. 

1. Disconnects staff 

Less time means less opportunity for the pre-meeting personal banter. But small talk is important in business and less small talk means less team camaraderie. As much as these types of conversations may often seem trivial, there’s a lot to be gained from them. It’s what helps us get to know our colleagues, bosses and staff on a personal level–whether in-office or remote. 

It’s within these small spaces of time that people share random tidbits that are on their mind. It’s how we get to know and better understand one another, which helps us to more effectively work together and generally feel more comfortable and connected-crucial aspects in workplace satisfaction, helping to reduce employee turnover. 

2. Increases pressure 

When there’s not a lot of time, there’s not a lot of space for the free flow of thoughts, ideas, and questions. Instead, only the most important topics are discussed, leaving the seemingly trivial, but still vital questions in the shadows. Though a meeting might not inherently imply more pressure, it does give the impression that there’s no time for that silly question. It can also cause brainstorming to be reeled back, as there needs to be time to entertain the ideas of others and build off that–something that doesn’t usually happen in a 15-minute slot. 

3. Yields more meetings   

There are a number of side effects that come along with short meetings. Not only does it mean that more meetings will take up the entire meeting time, but are more likely to go over time. In contrast, the 30- or 60-minute meeting is more likely to end early, giving staff the space to recoup and refocus before their next meeting. 

It also means there’s simply more room on your calendar for more meetings each day. Each additional meeting means spending more time switching gears, which takes time and makes focusing more difficult. 

All this is not to say there’s no merit to the 15-minute meeting. The key is to use them wisely. For example, they are great for short introductions, last-minute meetings where you’re coming from an email conversation or Slack thread and jumping on a call to quickly sort something. The short amount of time does make it easier to fit into a schedule, making staff more accessible and the decrease in time can make meetings less daunting. But they’re not a substitute for carving out time for a brainstorming session or meeting of the minds. 

The benefit of the standard 30- to 60-minute meeting time is that you don’t have to use the entire time-but it does provide the time you need it. By having the time set aside, participants can be fully present, and everyone can be heard. That something everyone needs–even if meetings are something no one wants.

Plus, an appropriately-scheduled meeting that helps teams be more productive can lead to increased job satisfaction–a key to safeguarding your business from the Great Resignation where the most effective strategy is also the strangest. 

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