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I'm the founder of FutureWork IQ where I spend my time assisting businesses to design digital workplaces or “offices in the cloud.” These environments enable companies to allow flexible and remote working for their teams. I also teach the digital literacy, fluency, communication and collaboration skills needed to work in these modern technology-rich workplaces.

The pandemic has provided an opportunity to rethink everything.

Prior to the pandemic employees attended 62 meetings/month and in the US unnecessary meetings cost a whopping $37 billion in salary costs!

Meetings are no exception.

How many of these have to be in-person – ie. synchronous?

The truth is, (and this is taking a leaf from fully remote companies) many many meetings can be asynchronous! How would that work you ask?

Here is one way. Using a simple Google doc create an agenda and attach it to the calendar invite. Each meeting attendee a deadline to consider each agenda item and add their input in writing, clearly indicating the author of the comment.

What makes an asynchronous meeting like this special is that it doesn’t require on-screen time, it doesn’t require you being in-person, and meeting introverts get to voice their opinions more freely, and everyone is given sufficient time to consider each agenda item thoughtfully. You now also have a detailed written record of how decisions were reached, what actions need to be taken next and by whom.

All without meeting in real-time.

(If you do decide for whatever reason to have a synchronous meeting after this process you can still do so using the exact same agenda document to determine the flow and structure of the meeting allowing everyone who commented on the agenda document to verbalize their written submission for additional nuance if necessary.)

This is just one way to radically cut down the need for in-person, time consuming synchronous meetings.