Coronavirus: Employer’s resource centre — live guidance available here

Item number 4 on today’s agenda – Nap Time

BY Gerry O'Hare
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

Meetings – a fantastic opportunity to communicate with colleagues in order to formulate new and exciting ideas for the purpose of achieving a common goal.

Alternatively, meetings are an excellent opportunity to catch up on those all-important personal emails, respond to Facebook friend requests and even get a few extra minutes shut eye.

At least that was the finding of a recent survey conducted by Arvato UK. Almost one in four employees in the UK admit to checking personal emails during meetings, with nearly one in three regularly responding to personal texts and using social media. Six percent were so captivated by the topic of discussion that they even admitted to having a sneaky mid-meeting nap.

Lateness, IT issues and the lack of a formal agenda are identified by workers as reasons for their inability to engage. Many also take issue with having to travel long distances to attend meetings and are particularly unimpressed with those which are scheduled over lunch-time. The survey concluded that nearly half of UK workers spend time every week in inefficient and unproductive meetings. 

So what should employers do to ensure that their staff don’t choose to catch forty winks whilst the future of their company hangs in the balance? Advancements in technology mean that attendees no longer need to be lured into the same cramped boardroom with the promise of tea and biscuits. Particularly handy for large multi-national organisations are facilities such as video-calling, conference calling and even instant messaging. These allow staff in different corners of the globe to ‘attend’ the same meeting at the same time; although admittedly for some, that time may be 3am.
Avoiding last minute cancellations and sticking to an agreed agenda so far as possible could also contribute to a more efficient meeting culture. Perhaps circulating the agenda to employees beforehand and allowing them to add any matters of relevance would encourage their participation. And, if all else fails, it doesn’t hurt to have a strong pot of coffee and a well-stocked biscuit cupboard.

© Copyright of Law At Work 2021 Law At Work is part of Marlowe plc’s employee relations division