Opinion: Please don't schedule online meetings for full hours

I've seen a lot of people lately complaining about meeting burnout. It seems that in our pandemic-isolated world where staff members and others are available pretty much on call all day long, it's become really common to have a much larger number of meetings than we used to.

I'm interested in why this is. Perhaps it's the lack of contact leading to a desire for more contact and conversation, but if there were a lot of unproductive meetings before, nowadays that seems to have increased so much that it seems almost silly.

Endless interruptions are also a problem. I've been watching developers lately who can never "get into the zone". Some device around them is beeping every minute or so to alert them that another message has arrived from their favorite chat application: Teams, Slack, etc. And every time I see them losing their train of thought.

But the worst aspect of the current meeting culture seems to be this incessant need to fill every possible minute of each hour (or half hour) of a scheduled meeting. I partially blame our calendar apps. Why do they automatically allocate meetings right up to the end of an hour (or half hour)? Who designed that?

Back when we were in office, you'd see people hurrying to get from meeting to meeting but often that was only one or two. Now I see people with back to back meetings for a large proportion of their days, and every meeting occupies the entire timeslot.

There's no opportunity for them to be human for a few minutes in between.

Please learn to schedule meetings for say 50 minutes instead of full hours, and let the humans recover, get a drink, take a bio break, answer a message, etc. in between meetings.

2 thoughts on “Opinion: Please don't schedule online meetings for full hours”

  1. GSuite uses reduced period booking by default.

    10:30 -> 11:00 is booked as 10:30 -> 10:55
    10:00-> 11:00 is booked as 10:00 -> 10:50

    Office 365 has this functionality available to it as well, but it's not visible by default.

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