Raising Your Work Efficiency

Reduce meeting times and enact management efficiencies
Many companies are tackling daily work reforms to reduce dependency on over-time as a cost of doing business. While some workplaces are setting restrictions on overtime to limit its use, these measures are not an effective fix for long-term overtime issues. In addition to limiting hours, it is also necessary to review the work being done and the appropriate amount of time needed to complete it. In order to reduce the number of hours worked while raising the efficiency of your own work, it is essential to reduce meeting times in particular.

Group Work Time Into 3 Categories: Appointments*, Tasks, and Unscheduled Work

Let’s explain why work time reduction is essential by categorizing it into three groups. One is appointments, which is work completed at a fixed time, such as meetings, discussions, business trips, etc. Then there are tasks, which is work that is technically tied to a deadline, but with freedom for you to decide when to complete it. This freedom often makes it challenging to put tasks in order. Finally, there is unexpected work, such as emails to relieve sudden issues, responding to inquiries, and consultations or inquiries from subordinates. While everyone is doing some combination of these 3 jobs during their normal working hours, few people understand how much time they are using for each. *Appointments are used her to refer to an action whose time is fixed. It refers to meetings with clients, internal meeting and discussions, and travel time. 

Reduce Appointments to Increase Task Time

How these three job categories fit into your working hours will depend on the job type, position within the organization, years of experience, etc. For example, inexperienced new hires at one organization used about 20% of their work time for appointments and about 70% for tasks. Experienced mid-level appointees had increased the task working hours to about 50% due to increased appointments and unscheduled work. Team leaders had about 35% appointment time while their task time had decreased to about 35%. As noted, the more experienced and high level the position is, appointments and unscheduled work time increased, and less time was spent on tasks. For some managers, appointment time may exceed 50%, with the time spent on tasks reduced to about 20% of the total. What happens if you simply reduce hours allocated for work? Well, most appointments and unscheduled work cannot be arbitrarily reduced, therefore in the end only time used for tasks is usually reduced. For example, even if you only reduce 10% of the total working hours, the time available for tasks may decrease by more than 10%. This tendency is even more noticeable in mid-sized organizations, team leaders, and managers. Although appointments are a work necessity, each person is still required to perform their job. And while it is necessary to increase task efficiency, one must avoid situations where the time for tasks is greatly reduced. In order to ensure enough time for tasks, it is necessary to reduce the time spent on appointments. For example, team leaders and mid-level management can reduce 10% of daily work time by limiting your appointments to 60% of your current daily work time (a 40% reduction), and still keep time for tasks. If you’re thinking about reducing tasks to be more efficient, make sure to keep your appointment time from 80% (a 20% to 30% reduction) of your current daily work time.

Measures to Reduce Time Spent on Appointments

society-reduce-meetings-2-min There are four major ways to reduce the time spent on appointments. First, reduce the number of appointments. If the main purpose is to communicate, you should consider replacing it with a different method such as email. You can review the frequency of the need to meet by perhaps changing it from once a week to biweekly. Second, shorten appointment times. Review and edit down long meeting times to set the example for efficiency and awareness of shortened work hours. Also be very strict about starting and ending meetings within the scheduled times. Third, pay attention to the number of attendees. Consider holding the same meeting for the same amount of time but for fewer attendees. Attendees who are not slated to speak and have no bearing on decisions can be given the minutes from the meeting later. Also, consider doing away with large conferences and focus on a select few attendees best suited to relay the meeting’s contents. Finally, reducing traveling time is also effective. For meetings where you have to visit a client’s office, you can dramatically reduce the time spent for the appointment by replacing it with a conference call, web conference, etc. A combination of these four can easily reduce appointment times to about 60% to 80% of the time allocated. We hope it is clear that each person is capable of reducing appointments time while still completing their work efficiently to help reduce the number of hours worked each day. And consider setting goals for shortened meetings to seriously tackle work time reduction as an organization.
This article was translated to English and was originally published in Japan. https://workit.vaio.com/i-how-to-reduce-your-meeting-time/