Like many organisations grappling with the realities of the current situation, we’ve been talking a lot recently about focusing on the things we can control. One of those is meetings.

Countless articles have been written about so-called ‘Zoom fatigue’, and my conversations with people inside and outside Iress confirm people are working longer hours, taking fewer breaks and feeling increasingly drained by the number of virtual meetings they’re being asked to attend.

I know of other companies which have declared ‘meeting-free days’ but that can create new problems and stresses, especially for client-focused organisations. So over the past couple of weeks, we have been crowdsourcing and collaborating on a core set of principles when it comes to how we think about, and manage, meetings at Iress.

Here is our final list - our seven commandments of meetings. I wonder how many of them ring true within your organisation?

How we meet at Iress

  1. Ruthless acceptance. We are ruthless about what we accept into our own calendars and respectful of what we put in others’. We also review our calendars regularly and remove unnecessary meetings.
  2. Clear purpose. When organising meetings, we are clear on what we want to get out of it and what will be covered. Every person is free to decline a meeting invite from someone at Iress if this isn’t clear.
  3. Right people. We make sure we have the right people in the meeting to make the necessary decisions, which includes not having too many people. We think about the Return on Investment (time/value) to those in the meeting and for Iress and external participants.
  4. Prepare thoroughly. We provide or read any relevant information before the meeting and ask questions before the meeting to clarify the information if needed.
  5. Contribute. We speak when it adds to the discussion and resist re-stating points already made. We make the effort to give feedback constructively and to challenge appropriately.
  6. Show respect. If we can’t be wholly present, we shouldn’t join the meeting. When we’re doing other work it’s noticeable and distracting for others.
  7. Commitment. We will commit to the agreed actions. We will raise any uncertainty or feedback about the meeting or decisions made with the correct person. If the meeting has created any personal tension or issues we will seek to resolve these promptly.

We didn’t create these to sit on a shelf somewhere. They are important principles which will help us to achieve better balance, be more productive and focus on those things which deliver real value to our clients, our users and ourselves.

Every person at Iress is licensed to check against these, regardless of who invites them to a meeting. We've already made them part of the way we work and incorporated them into our onboarding pack for new starters at Iress. I'm looking forward to seeing the difference it makes.

If you're interested in more ways to stay focused and be productive, watch our session with mindfulness expert, Dr Richard Chambers.

For free resources and support to help guide you through the coronavirus crisis, including tips and advice from our team on how to work effectively and securely from home, visit our dedicated hub.