Unify Blog

Three new ways to foster collaboration without more meetings.

A colleague shared a recent study with me. It said that most employees feel that many meetings they attend are unnecessary and/or unproductive (what a surprise). But it got me thinking, since working remotely and participating in more and more virtual teams, I seem to have noticeably fewer scheduled meetings and conference calls to attend. At face value, this seemed counter-intuitive. Yet I have never felt more connected in terms of working collaboratively with my colleagues across many extended teams.

You could argue that the central point and purpose of “meetings” in the general sense is to foster communication and collaboration. So how could this sense of change be explained? How can distributed teams stay connected and on-track without all those scheduled meetings to hold things together?

Can fewer meetings lead to better collaboration?

Well, thinking about it further I realized that our team members – despite working across time zones and even continents – have a common collaborative thread tying them together. My sense is that the new web-based and mobile collaboration tools seem to have had a significant impact on the way we work. I have found solutions like Circuit by Unify enable collective productivity without the need for so many scheduled meetings and conference calls.

Why is this you ask? I have not done a scientific analysis, but I think there are three main drivers of team productivity (without the need for scheduled meetings) that are enabled by web-based tools like Circuit:

1) Rich, multimedia communications (voice, audio, video, file and content sharing, desktop sharing, persistent text conversations) allow instantaneous access to other people and content – anytime, anywhere and on any device. So this could be one reason that assembling people in a room to communicate, or gathering on a conference call may no longer be necessary. And, given any session (audio, video, desktop sharing) can be recorded in real-time, any other team member can access that content at any time as needed.

2) The fact that team initiatives or projects are conversation-based and persistent, means there is a fluid and ongoing dialog going on – updates, comments, suggestions, content sharing – that moves things forward toward the common goal. The momentum of the team is sustained by the conversation, rather than by the “jab” of a scheduled sit-down meeting or conference call review meeting.

3) Eventually, individual behavior starts to change accordingly – as people fall out of the habit of scheduling meetings every time something comes up or as a routine matter of course. Meetings can be scheduled to meeting a specific purpose but are less likely to be called unnecessarily just to go through the motions of a formal meeting.

So, I would argue that people adapt to the new way of working and experience richer and more natural collaboration, with fewer sit-down meetings or dreaded conference calls. In my experience, the new generation of collaboration tools fosters more fluid teamwork and creates a central hub of conversation and content sharing.

Global Marketing at Unify

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Posted in Circuit, Collaboration, Engaged World, New Way To Work, Team Working, Unified Communications
4 comments on “Can fewer meetings lead to better collaboration?
  1. Good points, Ross. I have long believed that the key to success with distributed teams is to find ways to do what you’d do in the office. I think tools modern collaboration tools like Circuit make it easier to have pop-up conversations when we need a quick answer or opinion – like popping into someone’s office when you need them. I find I do more spontaneous collaboration – both via text/file sharing and via a quick, unscheduled phone call. Fewer meetings, more fluid schedules, faster feedback — Works for me!

  2. tony says:

    Really good Blog – highlight how tools like Circuit differ from other tools in the way it disrupts the way we work

  3. Interesting read which I fully agree…

  4. Really I agree remote working
    by circuit of course it is better but here in Iran we not access to circuit
    saving time/reducing any coordination for meeting/doing some case when we are fresh and active/and a lot of advantages ….