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It’s time to get intentional about what day of the week you hold meetings
After reviewing his calendar from 2022, the CEO of Owl Labs decided to get more strategic about why and when he held meetings. Here’s why it matters.
Each year, Frank Weishaupt, CEO of the AI-powered video conferencing solution provider Owl Labs, reviews last year’s calendar to see how he spent his time. The exercise can uncover areas that need improvement so you can be proactive with your priorities, he says.
“Planning your weeks is incredibly important,” says Weishaupt. “Look at your activities and determine whether those activities match your goals. It’s a constant evaluation and optimization. If you’re not taking the time to do that, you know, you’re probably not using your time wisely.”
Going into 2023, he decided to dramatically change how he schedules meetings. His first step was to make sure he was holding the right meetings. For example, some meetings had become routine, but they didn’t make sense anymore. If you’re not sure whether a meeting is worth holding or not, Weishaupt suggests flushing your calendar and starting over.
“Then think about everything that’s coming your way,” he says. “I purged the majority of my meetings coming into the year.”
With a growing number of companies scaling back or even cancelling meetings altogether, Weishaupt isn’t alone in the idea to reconsider their importance. However, a critical step he took to make meetings more effective was being intentional about the day on which they’re held.
When Owl Labs switched to remote work in 2020, Weishaupt put a lot of thought into employee engagement. He instituted an all-hands meeting on a weekly basis, instead of the company’s prior quarterly cadence. As some employees came back to the office, the company kept the tradition, choosing Mondays as the best day for this task.
“Monday tends to be when most of our people are remote,” he says. “The day is generally longer because you’re not commuting. We found that Monday is a good day to [hold this type of meeting].”
Because Monday kicks off the workweek, having an all-hands meeting on this day can provide an opportunity to answer questions, solve problems that could cause bottlenecks, and share some motivation for the week ahead.
TUESDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS
Each year, Owl Lab releases a State of Remote Work report. In 2022, it found that employees prefer to do certain types of activities in person, such as tasks that involve collaboration with colleagues. Because hybrid employees often work in the office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Weishaupt decided to use these days to schedule collaborative work meetings, such as brainstorm sessions or project work.
Weishaupt holds weekly one-on-one meetings with his direct reports to check in with them, setting goals and reviewing progress. For this type of meeting, he chose Thursdays as the best day.
“This allows me to reconcile all the information [we discuss], which leads into the staff meetings on Monday,” he says. “It has been a really good sequence for me.”
Currently, Owl Labs is testing a no-meeting Fridays, and Weishaupt says it’s been valuable for improving his team’s productivity. He does use Fridays for informal catchups.
“I found that I had multiple meetings on my calendar that wound up being five minutes, even though we had a 30-minute block taken out of a calendar,” he says. “I canceled some and said, ‘Why don’t we touch base every Friday just to see how the week has gone and see if there’s anything that we need to do together?’”
Five-minute catchups become a lot easier to fit in if you have no-meeting Fridays. “You’re not in back-to-back meetings from nine o’clock in the morning until six o’clock at night,” says Weishaupt.
FINDING WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
Overhauling meetings can be especially impactful for hybrid teams that need to be more thoughtful about scheduling them in. The key to finding the right cadence and schedule is to be intentional.
“I think people tend to fall into routines, and they don’t optimize their schedules,” says Weishaupt. “Your calendar has to meet your needs to be able to achieve your goals. It also has to be thoughtful about the other human beings that work at your company.”