Are you sure a breakfast meeting at the office is a good idea? Should you schedule an important team meeting over lunch or wait for the afternoon? You might think scheduling a meeting is an easy job but in fact there are so many things you have to take into consideration before picking time and day of the week. Do you know that scheduling an important board of directors meeting, for example, on a Friday morning will result in nothing but losses for your company or organization? Why? Because you can’t simply expect high productivity levels, fruitful discussions or full attendance on a Friday morning.
Don’t worry! I am here to help. I will let you know more about the best and worst times for holding productive meetings. The following article will also examine factors that can contribute to attendees’ productivity and efficiency and further touch upon why you should definitely pay attention to the time and day of your next meeting. Let’s go!
General Tips for Scheduling Meetings
- Don’t Schedule Meetings Right After Lunch
Let’s start with the most obvious tip — avoid at all costs scheduling a meeting (any type of business meeting) after lunch hour. If you do so, expect a room full of sluggish people with no energy levels. A nice meal accompanied by uplifting team conversations can significantly decrease their energy levels. Once everyone’s back at the office, the last thing on their minds would be to jump right into a serious meeting with a project manager, for instance. Those 30–40 minutes after lunch break are perfect for low-energy activities, such as checking and replying to emails, arranging one’s desk and filling out spreadsheets.
It’s better to leave the meeting until around 2:30PM when everyone’s energy levels are restored. Not just that but you are giving them some extra time to prepare for the meeting once they are back from lunch. You do want your team members to be prepared for the weekly team meeting, right?
2. Avoid Early Morning Meetings
Coffee comes first. Everything else comes after it! If you schedule an important business meeting early in the morning, you must prepare yourself for a room full of sleepy people, definitely not functioning at their best. Moreover, meetings held first thing in the morning mean that team members have to prepare for the meeting either the previous day or come in extra early at the office. Make them do that and they will definitely resent you.
Early mornings are for having coffee, checking and responding to emails, going through daily to-do lists and so on. They are definitely not for high-importance meetings.
3. Mid-morning Meetings are Good for Energy Levels
Since we’re on the topic of mornings and meetings, the best time to conduct a morning huddle meeting, for example, would be around 10AM. Once everyone has had their morning caffeine boost, checked their emails and prepared for a meeting, you will have an engaged team ready to participate in a fruitful discussion.
One more thing — mid-mornings are great for status-update meetings, stand-up meetings or a daily huddle meeting. Avoid scheduling those lengthy project-update or board of directors meetings at that time.
4. Mid-afternoon and Mid-weeks are Preferable
According to a survey conducted by WhenIsGood, the time when most people are likely to accept a meeting is Tuesday at 3PM. The Monday gloom is over and their weekend mindset has disappeared. 3PM is a great time because it’s (obviously) not early in the morning and it’s some time after lunch. Presumably, everybody has regained their energy levels back and are ready to actively participate in a meeting. Take advantage of that information and book those meetings next Tuesday at 3PM.
5. Evening Meetings for Senior Management
If senior management needs to have an important meeting, consider arranging it after 6PM. Once everyone else has gone home and you have the office all to yourself, you can freely discuss sensitive issues and information. In a quiet and peaceful office environment, you can really get serious. Be mindful of scheduling these types of meetings often as even bosses and managers want to go home at some point.
If you’re working with a global team or senior managers and bosses who are always on the go, you will have to schedule meetings across different time zones which also means staying after office hours.
6. Lunchtime Meetings? It’s a Hard No!
I once remember having one of those lunch meetings. I wasn’t sure whether to eat or work, whether to take care of my rumbling stomach or participate in the discussion. It was such an unpleasant experience.
Still, if you want to schedule a lunchtime meeting, make sure you let everyone know that the first 20–30 minutes are for team members to enjoy the food and socialize and after that it’s business time. Don’t let the meeting go on for too long, though.
What’s the Best Day of the Week for Meetings?
Thinking of running an important team meeting this week? Don’t even consider having it on a Monday or a Friday. These are the least effective days to hold meetings. Most employees will use personal or vacation days to take a three-day weekend. Therefore, you might not get a full team attending the meeting. Not just that but on Monday everyone still has their weekend pants on. And on Friday, everyone is eager to get out of the office as soon as possible. For productive and efficient meetings, you should generally try to hold meetings in the middle of the week — Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Of course, sometimes there are time-sensitive issues that have to be dealt with. A PR emergency? A crisis at the manufacturing department? An escalating workplace conflict? Naturally, you won’t wait for Wednesday to come if a decision has to be made today. If you have the luxury to choose any day of the week for an upcoming meeting, though, choose mid-week. As previously mentioned, Tuesday at 3PM is the best meeting time.
The Most Popular Meeting Time Might Not be The Best Time for a Meeting
247meeting concluded that 9AM to 11AM and 2PM to 4PM are the most popular times for meetings across Europe. Within these times, 10AM turned out to be the most popular time to host a meeting.
Yes, experts do believe that people are at their best when the meeting is held at 10AM and that’s related to our internal body clock and circadian rhythm. However, these research findings might not apply to younger generations. Young team members, under the age of 25 are a lot slower in performing essential tasks and participating in important discussions in the morning compared to their older colleagues. So, if you decided to follow that general principle, scheduled a meeting at 10AM but the meeting turned out to be unproductive, you can blame it on the youth being slower in the morning! Ultimately, the popularity of a time slot doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best time for a meeting. You see, there are just so many things to consider when scheduling a team meeting!
Break the Old Habits and Don’t be Afraid to Experiment
This is the last advice I can give you. When is the best time to conduct business meetings? You will find for yourself with practice and time. After all, every company and organization is different. Every team is also different. The best time to conduct a meeting will, of course, be determined by situational factors, time zone, time constraints, availability and other factors.
Still, if your company maintains that 9AM Monday morning status-update meeting, consider the above-mentioned tips and see whether there will be a difference if you conduct it at 10AM, instead. 9AM has proven out to be not the optimum time for a meeting and you must take all these researches and facts into consideration if you want to boost the productivity and efficiency of your meeting.
One last thing — you can always ask your team about it. Have a survey or a voting session. If you are managing a virtual team, some of above-mentioned tips might not apply at all. Working from home means having a flexible schedule which means flexible meeting times too. Talk to your team and decide what will work best for everyone. After all, communication is collaboration is the most important thing within an organization.