Are No-Meeting Days Right for Your Company? 

There are plenty of benefits to remote work, but the steady increase in number of meetings isn’t one of them. Quick scheduling and the ability to work on-the-go have led to an average of three more meetings per week per employee, by some accounts, with a 10% increase in time spent in meetings. 

While building trust, collaborating and creating team cohesion are important, meetings are often not the only way to accomplish these goals. In fact, extended time in meetings can take a physical and mental toll on your staff by contributing to long, sedentary workdays and growing workplace stress. That’s why companies like Asana, Shopify and others have started instituting “no-meeting days.”  

The Benefits of No-Meeting Days

Implementing this creative strategy can:

  • Increase your team’s focus. No-meeting days free up entire blocks of time for your team to focus deeply on important tasks, often resulting in a better product. 

  • Make remaining meetings become more productive. When you reduce the number of meetings, the remaining events on your calendar become more targeted and efficient, and workers feel more accountable to participating in a meaningful way. 

  • Improve morale. No-meeting days allow employees to catch up on tasks, get ahead and spend valuable time planning. It inevitably reduces late-night and weekend hours that lead to stress and anxiety. 

  • Reduce employee burnout. Free up calendar time for your staff to practice self-care that can improve their performance, such as daily walks, better work-life balance and continuing education that can hone valuable new skills.  

How to Implement No-Meeting Days 

The key to a successful no-meeting policy is flexibility. Rather than mandating a weekly no-meeting day, start by discussing how different teams work and getting buy-in from team leaders. From there, you might want to survey your team to determine which day would be best for no meetings.  

When Shopify significantly cut back on meetings this year, they started by conducting a calendar purge of all recurring meetings with more than two people and instituted a rule that no meetings can be held on Wednesdays. The company’s leaders were encouraged to decline new meetings and remove themselves from large internal chat groups. The company will take a two-week cooling-off period from meetings before any can be rescheduled, hopefully allowing employees to reconsider if those gatherings are necessary.  

While no-meeting days come with many benefits, there are occasions when meetings are unavoidable. Atlassian recommends avoiding team meetings, one-on-ones and top-down meetings such as Town Halls on no-meeting days. However, whiteboarding sessions, job candidate interviews and complex problem-solving meetings can be a valuable use of time on those days.