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Video conferencing is an expensive salve to management

by on30 March 2020

Comment: Isn’t it time that people packed in this ritual?

In my inbox are shedloads of press releases from video conferencing companies desperate to flog their wares on the back of the corona virius lock-downs.

Amongst the material are instructions companies issued to home workers to make sure that they can still attend meetings.

Yet, isn’t it time that management realised that meetings are and have always been a complete waste of time and money. While considered vital to da management, meetings have been a good way of taking staff away from the jobs they are doing and sit around bored, while someone tells you something you already know, or could be easily done in another way.

When I was a News Editor, I used to go around the office with a notebook, find out what the journalists were doing that day, give them work if they didn’t have any, and let them get on with it. It took me half an hour and the reporters lost five minutes. When I moved to Network Week, we had a morning meeting to discuss all the stories which were being worked on. It took an hour out of the day for everyone.

When I worked for tech companies, I noticed meetings lasted longer and were marginally less useful. They included dull presentations about other parts of the company, senior managers trying to enthuse us with management jargon, or meetings to set dates for future meetings.

It was pretty clear meetings were a management tool to keep managers busy and justify their salaries and had no use for the function of a company. Information could easily be passed in emails, or even the manager getting off their bottoms and talking to staff.

So now that people are forced into home working, why on earth are companies splashing out on expensive gear so that they can see the bored, unshaved face of an employee, who may not have put on pants,  in a chat window?

Home working is supposed to bring about changes in working methods so why duplicate something which is pointless into this brave new world on the edge.  If we have to change our working methods, isn't it time that management change the way they do things. How much cash is wasted on rooms, technology, dragging people away from their work to attend meetings?  Wouldn't it be better to consign the concept to the dustbin of history?

Last modified on 30 March 2020
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