Update (2023 September 17): I published an update to this system based on data, experience, and the advice of colleagues.
If you manage a team, value your team members time and want to improve productivity at your workplace with a simple change, consider implementing the 50/25 Meeting Recommendation that some companies are embracing. Consider communicating something like the following to your team:
We deeply value your time, your productivity and your comfort at the workplace. As a part of our initiative to make your workday more productive, less hectic and better manageable, we recommend a 50/25 meeting format. It is simple concept: As much as possible, let us take all our meetings that are 1-hour long and shorten them to 50 minutes. For our meetings that are half-hour long, let us limit them to 25 minutes.
You will find that a 50 minute meeting will accomplish no less than a 60 minute meeting did and a 25 minute meeting will be as productive as a 30 minute one was. In fact, by having clear 50 minute and 25 minute deadlines, our meetings are likely to be better focused, on topic and more attentive. (For example: Since you will have time after the meeting to check email, there is likely to be less temptation to check emails during the meeting itself.)
The extra 10 and 5 minutes will give you valuable time back that could be used for many useful activities: Getting in the frame of mind for the next meeting or task; checking your messages to see if there is something urgent that needs your attention; or simply taking a bio break.
Please note that this not a mandate, but a recommendation. We realize that you may not be able to do this for every meeting. What we ask is that you consider doing this for meetings that you organize or can influence. As a result, we will make our great work culture even better, less stressful and even fun.
Tip: If you use Google Calendar, turn on the “Speedy Meetings” setting to have the calendar automatically use 50/25 as the default setting.
Further Reading & Thoughts:
- NYTimes article about Larry Page, Google’s founder and new CEO instituting the same 50/25 meeting recommendation at Google.
- If a meeting accomplishes all its goals in even less than the 50 or 25 minutes, please, by all means end the meeting even sooner.
- We suggest that you do book the full hour or half hour in the calendar even as you implement the above so that others don’t schedule over the “10 minutes left over” in your calendar.
Thank you for considering this,