Remote Academy
8 min read

“That Meeting Could Have Been An Email” and How To Solve This

Published on
April 17, 2024
Contributors
Phoenix Baker
Product Manager
Lana Steiner
Product Designer
Drew Cano
Frontend Engineer
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Almost like a movement, the “that meeting could have been an email” meme has been gaining strength over the years. You can find candles, mugs, t-shirts and all sorts of merchandise related to the new phenomenon.

However, does anyone remember the problem being this bad 5-10 years ago? Meetings used to take place synchronically and surely thoughts like this crossed the mind of many after a 2-hour meeting, but the “meeting could have been an email” crowd came with one of the biggest work shifts in recent history: Remote work.

The new normal: Remote Work

Many experts once predicted that remote work was here to stay. Well, according to Findstack, remote opportunities have grown by 44% by in the past 5 years in the US.

Findstack also points out that: "85% of managers believe that having teams with remote workers will become the new norm" and that "74% of workers say that having the option to work remotely would make them less likely to leave a company."

So more opportunities equal more people staying working remotely. Here are the most common reasons why people stay working from home:

  • Worklife balance
  • Freedom of location
  • Flexible working hours

Work-life balance

In the beginning, it was a challenge to set boundaries when working remotely. You wake up and turn your computer on, have breakfast and start working. Then, at the end of the shift. Wait, what end of the shift? For many, there’s no set end of the shift.

You work until you finish your tasks, which usually didn’t happen when working in an office (unless you work in Japan.)

However, time has passed, boundaries were established and this new working model started to make more sense than the previous one, especially for families.

For stay-at-home moms, for instance, this mode means they can earn from home, helping the economy and their families, while spending more time with them.

Freedom of location & working hours

Freedom of location proved to be one of the greatest advantages of remote work and, attached to the opportunity to become an "online nomad," came the flexible working hours, which allowed workers to modify their schedule to their liking.

Though, this flexibility also meant different kinds of mishaps like endless online meetings, lack of adaptability to new web-based environments and uncertainty of working hours.

The downside: Zoom fatigue

By now, you’re probably familiar with the phrase ‘that meeting could have been an email’ and how it actually affects employees. We spend approximately more than eight hours a week on meetings, causing workers to be too fatigued to pay attention to the topics being discussed and overall exhaustion.

Along with the deteriorated morale, wasted time and the loss of productivity, online meetings deviate workers' attention from their tasks into countless hours of sharing screens not working properly, glitchy images and the endless repetition of phrases like: “Sam, you seem to have turned off your microphone”.

However, how does one exactly point out when a meeting should have been an email?

Let’s look at an example. Let's imagine that a company that mainly works in photography for multiple events, based in New York, has been working remotely since the beginning of 2020 because of budget shortages.

On an average week, the team discusses the set of photos that have to be edited, the clients that must be scheduled and upcoming events. This week, the team is facing a couple of challenges:

1. They must attend The Strokes’ concert in Terminal 5 and deliver those pictures within hours of the event.

2. Two separate groups of teams have to attend an event planned for international realtors that requires them to post a couple of pictures on the real estate agent's social media accounts simultaneously to take them.

3. They must assist their head photographer on ‘Vanity Fair's October cover.

With all these events on the team's agenda, it is essential to remember that all members of the team juggle other responsibilities. On top of that, their boss has scheduled three meetings, in which he plans to discuss a new editing tool.

With all that taken into account, it is valid to raise the question of: Is it really necessary to hold those online meetings to talk about editing software?

The likely answer would be "No," bearing in mind the team's hectic schedule; nonetheless, the company’s CEO still has trouble communicating updates and plans to his team. So how could he fix that?

Asynchronous Culture

Async culture is progressively attempting to eliminate cluttered inboxes and drive companies to use work software that allows them to be in contact at all times while granting employees the opportunity to have a clearer look at how their work schedule will look like.

Additionally, this new working method has stripped businesses from the concept of needing to have their schedules in sync at all times.

On the contrary, it has made companies understand that, in order to be productive, they don’t need to spend important time on online meetings.

Introducing DailyBot

DailyBot belongs to that remote software category that has been working arduously to help businesses stay on top of their tasks while granting them tools to manage their time, schedule and upcoming projects.

In fact, if you are part of the growing pool of employees who has opted for flexible schedules and comfort, you might agree that working remotely can play a major role in boosting productivity.

Nonetheless, managing to coordinate individual and collective tasks while meeting project deadlines is tough.

DailyBot is a tool that not only helps to set reminders but also aids in the arrangement of asynchronous standups & retrspectiveo meetings, while keeping an updated meeting history and running multiple reports on a schedule or asynchronously at users’ time zones.

Likewise, their coworkers are able to track progress without having to set up virtual sessions or send multiple emails. On the other hand, this software makes it easier for teams to identify bottlenecks and solve issues with simple messages and guided assistance.

When is async the solution?

With DailyBot, you can send Slack polls, customize team surveys according to specific team needs, or set up ‘mood trackers’ which are useful tools to get to know how pleased and productive is your team at any moment.

With ‘add-ons’ like Pomodoro or shortcuts that run different operations within one ‘chat channel’, DailyBot automates routine tasks while improving your team recognition culture and keeping them motivated.

Now, how could this be applied to avoid the recurring repetition of "That meeting should have been an email"?

Let’s be honest. Nowadays most meetings could be avoided, why? Simply because tools such as DailyBot allow businesses to keep in contact without countless emails, calls and even daily meetings.

To provide a little bit of context, it is important to understand that meetings can certainly be replaced by the following tools:

  • Reminders
  • Daily check-ups
  • Mood trackers
  • Polls

These practices not only prioritize your team's productivity, time management and a pleasant work environment; but also allow teams to make decisions more quickly without having to wait for a formal response from their superiors or discussing every minuscule aspect of the choice taken.

With hectic schedules such as the ones most workers manage today, being able to provide quick solutions to bottlenecks or give the green light to small aspects regarding upcoming projects is necessary to keep businesses running.

How can DailyBot help prevent meetings from happening?

Well, mainly because it grants flexibility for connecting with others, plus a space for teams to work at their own pace without batting their eyes away from their goals.

Conversations are shortened with clearer messages and reminders that leave memos to program quick meetings, provide immediate updates on upcoming projects and divide information according to each work department.

Though it is safe to say that many businesses have trouble finding harmony between work life and other tasks, is it possible to find balance?

It is very common that businesses to hold too many meetings regardless of their time zones and schedules. So, how do counterbalance the pressure of upcoming projects while keeping the whole team updated on what goes on on a daily basis?

Meetings can be held without taking up a whole lot of time from employees, but on the contrary, helping them find guidance towards common goals and organizing multiple schedules. One of the most common solutions to this type of problem could be to give each meeting structure and a time limit.

For example: Imagine that a popular fashion magazine has different departments. First off, the corporate department is in charge of arranging partnerships with sponsors, contacting the talent that graces each issue of the magazine and dividing the budget for each area.

Secondly, the design department must arrange the visual aspect of each magazine issue, arrange the aspects that will conduct the style of the photoshoots and arrange each section of the magazine. Finally, the writing/talent department is in charge of creating the content that the consumer reads each month.

Each week, the whole ensemble gets together in a meeting to discuss individual and collective progress, nonetheless some team members have manifested that they find it tough to arrange their schedules to fit a set meeting. It is understandable that the magazine prefers to discuss some aspects with the entirety of its crew, but how could they set an agenda for each meeting?:

  • Setting specific goals (weekly, monthly and yearly)
  • Setting a time limit
  • Allowing each department to make decisions individually
  • Daily Check-ins with DailyBot, led by leaders of each department in which they disclose progress, upcoming projects and future plans

So that's that. Now think how your meeting schedule should look like and start reducing the number of unnecessary meetings with DailyBot.

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