Useless calls and meetings
You guys work in IT, and you know perfectly well how huge a part of our work is to call up. After the start of the pandemic and remote work in 2020, my average working day contained a couple of hours of this chatter, and it became unbearable.I decided to explain to people around me why all these dozens of meetings for "talking" are useless.
You guys work in IT, and you know perfectly well how huge a part of our work is to call up. After the start of the pandemic and remote work in 2020, my average working day contained a couple of hours of this chatter, and it became unbearable. I started to get nervous — I probably won't continue working if stupid zoom calls make me so nervous. The more I worked remotely, the more I hated them. I hated the calls themselves and even more hated the people who initiate them.
I decided to explain to people around me why all these dozens of meetings for "talking" are useless.
We have Confluence, GitHub, email, Teams, Slack, Jira in our team! Hello, is there not enough place for you to discuss working moments? Or maybe you just feel uncomfortable doing it with your voice? Or perhaps the problem is with you? Do you just want to think out loud at the expense of my time? Maybe it's because you don't need to discuss anything with anyone, and you just want to imagine productivity?
We hold daily meetings in which we reproduce aloud the information that we previously recorded in Jira. They often offer to record everything that was said because they subconsciously understand that only text information works. A week after any call, only what was recorded remains.
So why not immediately record without wasting time on a call?
Calls do not work well, and it is also expensive. It eats a lot, a giant lot of time, it can not be accelerated. And it is exhausting. Those of you who have ever been stuck on a three-hour call with a dozen participants will understand what I'm talking about — after an hour of this hell, you start wanting to die.
One day I thought, maybe I'm the only one, maybe I don't understand something? But all my friends whom I asked agreed with me. No one is happy with the endless stream of useless calls that began since the transition to remote work.
I have repeatedly caught myself feeling that we are sitting here for the second hour on a call — five people of the development team and the head. And everyone is waiting for it to end finally. When one of us is asked a question, he asks again — because he didn't listen. Everyone is busy with their affairs, to do at least something useful during this time. I can directly feel a wave of joy from my colleagues when it is pronounced: "That's it for today, have a nice day, everyone" Oh yeah, come on man, good luck, bye-bye, happy day, I don't have any questions, I'll tell you anything — just finish it.
So, if almost no one likes to call up, then how did it happen that freaking calls occupy such a place in our working culture?
I found a couple of reasons. Some people do not perceive text information well, and they cannot formulate a thought normally without an interlocutor. You know, this is the kind of person who gives out "come on with your voice" for any little thing that you were unlucky to come to him. I have terrible news for such people — they either need to retrain, otherwise, they make everyone around them suffer.
Some people just like to chat. They are the least evil because this technique has always worked for me: "Friend, call me after work. I'll take some wine, and we'll discuss everything you want without the illusion that we are solving work tasks." If a person just wants to chat — you can just chat with him. It's just not necessary to make it part of the work responsibilities of people in the team.
Sometimes I think about an idea: to start creating Jira tasks for all these calls so that at the end of the month, people will see that you have done nothing at all, and all your working hours were spent on calls, preparing for them and processing the results. Maybe then someone will think about this topic.
In the meantime, I have some tips on how I deal with these calls:
- I simply reject the meeting if I don't understand why I need it. If I really need it there, the creator will contact me separately and convince me to come. Now we are not limited to the size of the meeting room, and there is no thought about how many people will get up from their jobs and come to your meeting because you only need one click to connect. Because of this, people thoughtlessly invite everyone in a row, not even realizing who is really needed at the meeting.
- If I come to a meeting, then at the very beginning, I try to assess the purpose of the meeting, what we need to come to. Often people spend hours of discussion forgetting why they have gathered, but in fact, the main issue can be solved in 15 minutes.
- After the meeting, it is vital to understand the specific next steps. Often people just chat, do not come to anything, and then they will talk about this topic again uselessly.
Have a good week without useless calls!