I went to a 35 hour long meeting the other day.
Ok, that’s slightly misleading. There were ten people giving comments on a report, and it lasted for two hours, which is standard enough.
But what about the hidden time?
The meeting grabbed two hours out of each person’s day, so for ten people, that’s 20 hours in total.
Now imagine each person took 45 mins to get there, then another 45 mins to get back to the office (not bad for London) – that’s another 90 mins per person, with ten people, that’s 15 hrs travel time in total.
They’d have been lucky if they got much done in the travel time, beyond a mistyped replies to emails on their Blackberries.
In the meeting itself, we suggested changes to the report, made comments, went off on long tangents, the usual. But what if the report had been put on Google Docs say, and attendees got a secure link to it. Everyone could have spent half an hour making their changes and comments from home or the office. the report’s collator could have collated them all later. A Skype or phone conference call could even have been scheduled to go through the suggested changes together.
Suddenly, the 35 hour meeting would be down to 5 hours. The editors’ job would have been dead easy.
Dont get me wrong, I think face to face meetings are important for building and maintaining relationships, and I don’t want to be stuck behind a computer all day. There’s nothing like a smile or a laugh to break the ice. But where we’re getting down to business, wouldn’t everything be quicker if everyone tried a new collaborative way if working? One that leaves us charities free go focus on the important business of delivering our services and fundraising?
Id be interested to know if anyone has tried!