It's Monday morning. The first thing you do to kick off the new week is gather your team and start with a meeting. That's productive, right?
Not so fast. We spoke to two business owners who shared their opinions for when meetings work best for their teams.
"Monday morning meetings are not a good idea," says Patrick Sanaghan, president of The Sanaghan Group, an organizational consulting firm in suburban Philadelphia. "When people get to work on Monday morning, they need to center themselves and get on the same page with their people."
Even if the meeting only involves the most senior level of employees, the Monday morning get-together can slow down progress for everyone.
"If the senior leaders are all in a group together Monday morning, everyone is waiting for their meeting to end so they'll know what to do for the day or the week," Sanaghan says. "It freezes a lot of people's time as they're waiting for the senior management team to share the priorities for week."
Sanaghan suggests letting everyone get settled back into their own work groove and then have that weekly meeting Tuesday morning.
"If I could choose one time to meet, I'd meet Tuesday morning and make sure I have a strategic and prioritized agenda," Sanaghan says. "Have enough time to have really good [discussions] and set the stage for the week."
Lunch and Afternoon Meetings
Sanaghan advises against rolling lunch into a meeting, forcing people to eat and work at the same time.
"It's unproductive to have lunch meetings simply because people cannot do two things well at once," Sanghan says. "This is usually a sad attempt to be more efficient by crowding people's lunches into a business meeting. Watching a bunch of people chewing a sandwich with their mouths full and trying to talk is abhorrent."
If you need to have a lunch meeting, Sanghan suggests setting aside 20 to 30 minutes to eat, and then tackle business. But beware that full stomachs can interfere with productivity.
"After lunch can be a problem simply because food kicks in and glucose levels change," Sanaghan says. "People have different time zones and frames where they are most productive, but lunch isn't one of them."
Mid-afternoon may not be much better than lunch. The afternoon can easily bring on a case of the yawns.
"Most people's body chemistry changes around 3 in the afternoon," Sanaghan says. "People simply get tired between 3 and 6 p.m."
End-of-Week Circle Back
When the end of the week is near, you may want to get the team back together to gauge how productive the week was. Should you wait to do that on Friday afternoon?
"I like meetings on a Thursday," Sanaghan says. "By then you've had a pretty good workweek and you know what the problems, challenges and victories are. It's a good time to recap and renew and figure out how to close the week."
Why can a Thursday afternoon session be more productive than waiting until Friday? "People are simply psychologically out the door and pretty tired come Friday," Sanaghan says.
Is Midweek Best?
Will Montgomery, owner of Montgomery and Associates Insurance Agency in Brentwood, Tennessee, prefers a midweek approach for meetings.
"I always schedule our team meetings for Wednesdays at 9 a.m., because it's in the middle of the week and we try to review the previous week's triumphs and struggles while still being able to nail down the rest of that week as well," Montgomery says. "When our meeting is on Wednesday early in the morning, the previous week still is fresh on my team's mind and they can still recall the issues that need to be raised. We can also handle Monday and Tuesday as well before moving on to what needs to be tackled for the rest of the week. Wednesday provides a good split to handle everything."
Meetings are crucial collaborative tools that keep a team on task and goal-focused. While the content of the meeting is key, paying attention to the day of the week and the start time of the meeting may increase its usefulness.
Read more articles on productivity.
This article was originally published on August 22, 2014.