- Shopify employees spent less time in meetings after the company revamped meeting policies in January, a company spokesperson told CIO Dive Friday. The average time spent in meetings in January and February was down 33% year over year.
- Shopify introduced new policies for its employees in January, aiming to boost productivity by canceling all recurring meetings with more than three people and restricting all meetings on Wednesday. The policy removed nearly 10,000 events or 76,000 hours of meetings.
- The company expects engineering, product and user experience teams to complete around 25% more projects by the end of the year compared to last year due to the policy changes. Shopify is considering new strategies and methods to reinforce the changes and ensure employees continue to have uninterrupted time, according to the spokesperson.
Boosting productivity was top of mind at the beginning of the year as executives looked to become more efficient and course correct from the pandemic-era meeting influx. While some businesses targeted remote work and implemented return-to-office policies, Shopify set its sights on reducing employees' time in meetings.
Employees participated in 60% more remote meetings in 2022 than in 2020, research published in the Harvard Business Review shows.
The onslaught of meetings caused many employees and executives to ask the age-old corporate question: “Could this meeting have been an email?”
“This is especially true for employees in a hybrid world,” Annika Jessen, senior principal, research in Gartner’s HR practice, told CIO Dive in January. “Gartner research shows hybrid employees are virtually overloaded and feeling like they have to always be on. They are 1.12 times more likely to feel like they are working too hard at their jobs and 1.27 times more likely to struggle to disconnect from work than employees in the onsite world.”
Team meetings are often the default for disseminating information, but without clear goals and intentional planning, meetings lose their purpose, according to Jessen.
Almost all — 92% — of employees consider meetings costly and unproductive, according to 2022 data from The Harvard Business Review.
“A meeting isn’t always the best way to share information or enable creativity,” Jessen said. “Employees can also be working individually in a virtual setting or working individually in the same physical setting.”
For businesses looking to boost heads-down work but wary of weakening employee engagement, Jessen suggested leaders and managers invest in work design, rewards, recognition and opportunities for personal development to boost engagement.
“Organizations don’t have to rely on ‘face’ time to connect their employees to the organization’s culture,” Jessen said. “Instead of relying on employees being seen because they are physically close to one another, businesses can orchestrate moments for employees to feel seen."
"Feeling seen is more important than simply being seen for employees to connect to their culture,” Jessen said.