According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unnecessary meetings cost the U.S. economy $37 billion each year.
A study in the Salary Reporter also found that, employees attend on average, 62 meetings per month with 9 out of 10 employees preferring any other way of interacting than meetings.
About 47% of employees say that meetings are the number one time wasters in the office.
Just because you are at work doesn’t mean you are getting something done. Being stuck in dead-end meetings may not always be productive. While meetings may seem like the right construct to get people on the same page or seal that deal, social collaboration software and platforms are changing this old paradigm.
Social collaboration, whether external or internal, is making meetings irrelevant.
Here are 5 ways why this is so.
Social collaboration software takes productivity to a whole new level with the use of desktop sharing. It used to be that in order to collaboration on a project, you had to be in the same room, with the right people, and at the right time. However, now all you need is a web conferencing feature to share your desktop with your colleague and collaborate on a project in real time.
Annotation tools now allow participants to clearly highlight a point on the screen by either using an arrow to illustrate or drawing a circle or highlighting text for others to see. It is even possible to give control of one participant, say a client, and edit a document in real-time while others look on.
Meetings may not be going away anytime soon, but you can change the way you hold them. Social collaboration platforms enable you to have virtual meetings that are more efficient and offer a horde of collaboration capabilities especially where teams are geographically spaced. It is easy to get everyone on the same page quickly with virtual meetings while avoiding wasting time in commute and other associated expenses.
Some social collaboration software include a mobile component or enable users to log in right from their smartphone or tablet and access the same features as their desktop counterparts. This means they can hold meetings wherever and whenever they are. Imagine being able to join in meetings while on a plane, in a restaurant, or in bed.
Mobile collaboration goes a step further allowing you to integrate calling features into web conferences making the entire collaboration aspect more real than previously possible.
Sometimes, it may not be possible for all to participate fully or at all. By having the session recorded, those not present can “join in” by watching and possibly leaving annotations or even their own recorded responses to what was discussed.
Recorded sessions can simply be emailed to those not present or any other party that might benefit from the virtual meeting. It is also a more effective way of keeping others up to date which eliminates the need for more meetings simply to get everyone at par.
There is no doubt that social collaboration is not only more efficient than traditional meetings, but more convenient. It is no longer necessary to bring everyone together and spend a couple of hours or the whole day in meetings. Most of what is usually discussed can be automated, thanks to what social collaboration platforms have to offer.
With social collaboration software, it is much easier to implement customer care that connects with customers. High-level managers can more conveniently push their agendas and employees can propose ideas in a way that gets attention. This level of convenience may not always be possible in meetings and companies are starting to realize this.
Rather than bring social into the business environment, enterprise social tools are changing business processes especially in communication. Meetings are quickly becoming obsolete for the above reasons. Ultimately, enterprise social collaboration tools are going to replace a lot of traditional communication processes making organizations more efficient, innovative, competitive, and boosting productivity.
Tim is president and co-founder of Axero Solutions, a leading intranet software vendor. He's also a bestselling author of Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Mastering Employee Engagement. Tim’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Today, and other leading publications.
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