This 90-Minute Exercise Can Help Ditch Unnecessary Meetings

At the start of the year, it’s the perfect time to renew your team’s working methods. And a top resolution on most teams’ list is cut meetings gain more time to deep work.

Schedule relief is a challenge that all teams face, and it hits hybrid teams harder than others. According to my company Team Status Researchwhile office workers have about five hours of meetings per week on average, it’s more like eight hours for people on distributed and hybrid teams.

So why is it important? We found that spending more time in meetings is linked to a significantly higher risk of burnout, which is consistent with all of the research on Zoom fatigue.

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If your team struggles to reduce the number of meetings, consider using Atlassian Ritual reset player. We designed this 90-minute exercise to help teams audit and re-evaluate team meetings and processes and be more intentional about timing vs. timing. asynchronous work.

Here is how you can run the game.

Step 1: Preparation

For remote teams, start by creating a new collaboration document: here’s a helpful guide Trello Template. For in-person teams, prepare a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. If your team is distributed, meaning you have a few members who sit together, in person, while others connect virtually, we recommend running this game fully virtual by asking in-person team members to participate via Zoom.

On your document or whiteboard, create a table with 4-5 columns labeled with increasing time intervals (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly) and create rows labeled “Full Team” and “Part of Team “. Next, create another table with columns labeled “Keep”, “Improve”, and “Remove”.

Step 2: Prepare the ground

Set meeting ground rules. Tell your team:

  1. There are no right or wrong answers.
  2. Always assume a positive intention.

Reaffirm the purpose of the room: to review the team’s usual work rituals and decide what to keep, improve or eliminate.

Next, define “ritual” and provide some examples. Basically, a ritual is a repeated activity in service of the team or organization. It can be strictly professional, strictly social, or a mixture of both. Here are some examples :

  • a recurring team meeting
  • a planning process
  • a team social hour
  • a status report for the CEO

Then ask the team to brainstorm what makes a successful ritual for their team and record their responses in the shared space.

Step 3: Audit

Set a timer for 20 minutes and have the team audit their rituals in silence. For remote teams, ask them to add each ritual to the shared document. For in-person teams, have them write the rituals on sticky notes and add them to the paper or whiteboard. Group similar rituals together and identify gaps.

Step 4: Vote

Remind the group how they defined a successful ritual ahead of time, then give them time to vote on which rituals to keep, improve, or delete. Votes can be recorded by placing labels or stickers of different colors near each post-it. Give each person about five votes per round.

Step 5: Create an action plan

After all votes are cast, discuss and document next steps for the top 3-5 rituals in each category. Ask questions such as:

  • How can we ensure that the rituals we need to keep remain effective?
  • What can we try to improve the rituals we want to improve?
  • Who will remove the rituals we should remove from everyone’s calendars?

Make the meetings you’ve decided to keep look amazing by learning how to run a more effective meeting in this course.

Step 6: Follow-up

Check back with the team 3-4 weeks later to see if the changes have had an impact. Consider doing this exercise every year or whenever the composition or responsibilities of the team change.

Now is the time to try. Over the next month, replace a weekly team meeting with the Ritual Reset game. I promise it will be worth it and set the tone for the new year.

Mark the form is Atlassian’s resident modern work expert. Focused on practice rather than theory, Mark spends his days coaching Atlassian and client teams on new ways of working, then sharing what he’s learned at events around the world.

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