TO: All Magazine readers
SUBJECT: Strategy proposals for identifying optimum timings for workplace symposia
PLACE: Here, on the Magazine Monitor
DATE: 1500 BST, Tuesday 20 October 2009
A new study says the best time to call a meeting is 3pm on a Tuesday. As today is Tuesday, Monitor readers are invited to a special live meeting to discuss whether this is indeed the best time to hold a meeting. Between 1500 and 1520 BST today, the Monitor will be hosting a constantly updated conversation in which everyone is welcome to pitch in with their t'penneth worth, using the letters form on the right of this page. (We've tried this before at our fifth birthday party.) And when it's finished, let's adjourn for BYO tea and biscuits.
---POSTED AT 1604 BST---
Err, sorry, to disturb. Had a meeting in here earlier - has anyone seen my coat?
Lester Mak, London, UK
---POSTED AT 1534 BST---
Excuse me - I'm sorry - are you going to be much longer? I've got this room booked from half three...
MONITOR: All done. Biscuit, Simon? And can someone nudge Adam awake?
Love one. Got any custard creams?
---POSTED AT 1531 BST---
Best time to hold most of the meeting is before the meeting. Reports, etc, all available beforehand, so the meeting is just acknowledging receipt, quick discussion on points of difference, and agreeing the actions. Online capabilities make this a reality.
Balfour, Perth, UK
I'd go along with Caroline, but move the upper limit to 16:00.
RayB, London, UK
I'm all for meetings at 11. It's early enough that people's brains are still working and as everyone wants to get to lunch afterwards there is no fear that "AOB" will overrun for hours on end. I also find that come 2pm, people are suffering from the lunchtime lull, and when 3pm comes about, people are tired and are winding down for home time (or procrastinating online...)
Thanks for this meeting. Think we decided about as much as most meetings decide. I shall file my action points accordingly.
Mike A, Derby
Am I late? Sorry - in a lunch meeting which overran. I'm starving!
MONITOR: We're just wrapping up. Right, who *has* been taking minutes?
---POSTED AT 1529 BST---
I'd love it if we could have a 3pm only meeting rule. Rather than meetings at all other times but 3. I feel particularly perky so I'd say 3pm meetings are a great idea.
Let's use this meeting to its fully managerial potential and just use it to decide when to hold a meeting that actually makes a decision. What the subject of that decision is will have to be discussed in another meeting at some point between this meeting and the meeting where we make the decision. I suggest next Tuesday... say 2:59pm?
I'm not sure we're going to reach a conclusion today. Maybe Ray could circulate some options and we could meet at the same time next week to go through them?
Stephen Turner, Cambridge, England
---POSTED AT 1527 BST---
Thought I shall just chip in whilst waiting for the tea to cool down. My office has flexitime, so I religiously work 8-4. Often, however, an e-mail for a meeting at 4 the next day will go out at 4 the day before meaning a) I wont get it until the day of the meeting and b) won't have adjusted my arrival time to account for the extra hour spent in a meeting after 4.
Not that I ever have anything to add to meetings anyway. Except this one.
Sorry I'm late - schedule conflict.
Meetings for me are best at 10am and ideally should have no chairs, no drinks, stand up coffee bar type tables only and take less rather than more time. Oh yes - and if a slide show is planned - no more than three slides.
Robin, Aberdeen, Scotland
Who is doing the minutes?
---POSTED AT 1525 BST---
Lunch meetings are the work of the devil. Horrid limp sandwiches made with steamed white bread and unidentifiable fillings. Plus I get really mardy if not fed adequately. When I rule the world there'll be no meetings before 10, between 12 and 2, or after 5pm.
Caroline Mersey, London, UK
Is this meeting going to over-run?
Basil Long, Nottingham
MONITOR: Yes, we'll push on til 3.30. Some people were late.
---POSTED AT 1522 BST---
Best time for a meeting is around 10 or 11am; you've been in the office for a while and ready for a change of scenery from your PC.
Are we here to dicuss the meeting about setting up the meeting or the past meeting we had about the meeting? I'll have coffee please to stay awake.
Who's up for some Office Jargon bingo in this meeting...?
Boris Vonstrapon, Vonstraponsville, Bulgaria
Sorry I'm late... only just got this teleconference thing working... have I missed much?
---POSTED AT 1520 BST---
Keith of When Is Good here - thanks to the Magazine for covering our study. Of course, now that everyone knows the right time to do everything is 3pm on a Tuesday, no one needs to use our service any more. That's us off to the pub then.
Keith Harris, Bedford, UK
---POSTED AT 1517 BST---
If the idea that this is a good time for a meeting really takes off, won't it actually cease to be a good time for a meeting as we'll all be already busy?
Saffron Garey, Farnborough, Hants
Don't worry Elliot, I've brought some chocolate digestives with me. Now, can anyone get the OHP working?
Problem with 3pm on *any* day is it's when the mid-afternoon lethargy kicks in... the carbs from your pasta & chocolate lunch conspire to make you sluggish and sleepy. I think a meeting at this time would make ...me...fall...asl...
MONITOR: Adam, wake up. Don't think I won't notice, your seat is right in my line of sight.
Where can I leave my coat?
Lester Mak, London, UK
Who made the coffee? It's like tar.
Flora, London, UK
---POSTED AT 1512 BST---
I seem to remember years ago some scientist telling us that the human body starts to "wind down" for sleep at around 3pm in the afternoon. So is 3pm really the right time?
I have a collegue who has a habit of booking meetings at impractical times, such as right over the lunch period, or late in the evening (I get in early so that I can leave early, my brain doesn't work past 4). Her lastest meeting is booked for 3-4pm this Friday, and I just know it's going to over-run. Plus, I'm sure come Monday I won't be able to decipher my notes for the minutes.
Maggie Bob, London
Sorry I'm late...
Ben Groom, London
Typical. The meeting's only just started and there are no chocolate biscuits left.
---POSTED AT 1509 BST---
MONITOR: Right, who'll kick things off?
In my experience of local government meetings I would completely agree with the idea of 2pm being preferable. When 3.30pm comes, people start thinking about home time and the evening ahead. Lunch time meetings can be popular if lunch is provided. How about 8.30am on any day but Monday, it gets an early start when you are fresh and before the days distractions?
John, Morpeth, England
Anyone for coffee?
MONITOR: Yes please, Claire. Milk, no sugar.
---POSTED AT 1506 BST---
Sorry I'm a couple of minutes late. My last meeting overran because someone set the fire alarm off. We've got to finish on time as I've got another meeting to go to at 3:30 (I've not prepared for that yet, so please don't look too closely at the notes I'm making).
Ray Lashley, Colchester, UK
---POSTED AT 1502 BST---
Everyone present and correct?
MONITOR: Basil's off getting a tea, and Fiona's on the school run. But otherwise, we're good to go.
---POSTED AT 1458 BST---
I wish I could take part in your "special live meeting" but unfortunately, I'm in another meeting.
Hi, I'm a bit early. Where are the biscuits then?
MONITOR: That's a shame, Sarah. And Elliot, you're in luck, there's one chocolate digestive left.