There's a well-known line from the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman: "Productivity isn't everything, but in the long run it is almost everything. A country's ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker".
With reports continuing to show that productivity in the UK has flatlined in the past five years, raising output per worker has remained high on the agenda in all sectors — including the legal profession.
One of the first areas of scrutiny can be time spent in meetings, with a culture leaning towards fewer, shorter, more focussed/meaningful meetings. While I ascribe to that need, it has also sat slightly uncomfortably from time to time as even meetings without the aim of making decisions can serve a function, in my view.
It is interesting, then, to read this BBC report about pointless meetings being a form of therapy. As with most things, it is a matter of balance. Meetings simply to assert authority, complain or afford no voice are not worth having, and can often cause more harm than good. But in times when reliance on technology can mean less opportunity for real time, live interaction, perhaps there is room for having meetings simply for the purpose of having a meeting?
I'd be interested to hear tips on what can make a meeting worthwhile/meaningful/productive. One I aim to implement is to break the default of meetings fixed for one hour slots, by booking out 45 minutes in the diary. In an average week, that could return around 3-5 hours of time to the diary.
It can't be that simple - can it?!
Meetings can "arouse feelings of meaninglessness", he says. But he argues that is often missing their point. Once in a meeting - particularly long ones - their function can become "almost therapeutic".