Susie shuffles into the conference room and slumps into a chair. Her boss, Alan, smiles from the other end of the table. He believes that Susie is a dedicated worker because she always arrives early for staff meetings. If he only knew! Susie shows up early to get a seat in the corner away from Alan so he won’t notice her total lack of interest.
Slowly, other employees shuffle in. They know the meeting will drag on with lots of wasted time, so there’s no point to being prompt. Alan continues waiting for the stragglers while Dana tells an inane story about her recent trip to the dog groomer. Alan finally calls the staff meeting to order twenty minutes late. He raises his voice to be heard over shuffling papers and private conversations.
Susie slumps lower in her seat. Next to her, David holds his phone below the table’s edge, playing Candy Crush. Susie glances around the table at her fellow sufferers. Tim and Cary are silently laughing at the same time, proof they are texting each other again.
A couple of months ago, Susie suggested timing speakers in hopes of speeding up the meetings. Alan was cool to the idea, probably because he likes to make rambling speeches himself. The worst offender is Dana, who says “um” and “uh” constantly while shuffling her papers and saying “what else did I do”, as if anyone cares. Susie decides that if Dana is as disorganized at home, she feels sorry for the dog.
Fred’s the lucky one. He’s temporarily banned from staff meetings after suddenly lurching to his feet while Dana was speaking and shouting, “I can’t take it anymore! Shut up, already!” Now, he cruises past the glass door to smirk at his co-workers who are stuck in the business equivalent of hell.
What options does Susie have to maintain her sanity through lengthy pointless staff meetings?
- She can suddenly roll off her chair onto the floor, feigning death in hopes that ends the meeting.
- She can play Candy Crush on her cell phone.
- She can accept that nothing will change and learn meditation techniques that enhance patience.
There are many ways to handle internal meetings, such as staff meetings to avoid wasting time. One method used by a retired Army general while working for a major retailer was to remove the chairs from the meeting room, forcing everyone to stand and deliver. His meetings ran on time and ended promptly after 15 minutes.
If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.
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