Can we make the 5 hour work day a reality?

5 hour work day

There’s some debate about who actually created the 5 hour work day but most people (Forbes, Money etc) cite Lasse Rheingans – CEO of Rheingans Digital Enabler as one of the first companies to start a 5 hour work day.

Most of the 5 hour work day stories seem to have similar outcomes. Happier staff and increased productivity without a reduction in holiday or staff benefits, everyone wins. Amazing, so why doesn’t it work for everyone and why do we hear so many stories of people trying to implement it failing?

It’s all about focus

Working a 5 hour day requires real discipline, removing all the extraneous things we do on an average workday. Think about it:

  • Coffee, tea (whatever we don’t judge)
  • Snacks, see above
  • Chatting with colleagues
  • Irrelevant emails, phone calls texts
  • Day dreaming
  • MEETINGS, or most importantly pointless meetings

Losing all these things from our workday takes time, effort and discipline and it’s a struggle for most of us. Meetings (well they had to be didn’t they) are probably the biggest culprit, we know they’re a problem. In most cases it hovers between 35% and 50% of our work week spent in meetings, that’s a whopping amount of time! Image what life would be like with better meetings?

Let’s put that into context if you work a 45 hour week that’s 22.5 hours in meetings. Let’s be optimistic and say 50% of that meeting time is wasted, that’s about 11 hours a week. So there’s 2 hours a day saved!!

The rest just requires focus. I’ve been trying this for myself I recently decided to try an approach that focused 100% on tasks. I split this into 2-3 chunks each day of similar tasks and shut off every distraction and non-related activity. It works really well. I’ve found myself rattling through my tasks, making very few errors. More importantly though it’s de-cluttered my brain. My attention is spent working on the tasks at hand, thinking time is built in but it’s not off topic. I’d love to also say I’ve cut down pointless meetings, but we don’t really have those given what we do. I’m drinking less coffee and having breaks when I need them, win.

Taking the first step

Try a few things yourself. Turn your phone off for periods during the day, if you plan this well it will coincide with the times when you’re on your phone for non-work stuff. Try not to use chat during certain times, similar to the phone it’s a distraction. Turn your email off and only open it at set times during the day to check and reply.

It all sounds easy but it’s these things we use to break up the day and grab a mental rest, try it for yourself and see how you get on. Let us know we’d love to hear the outcome?

The biggy of course is meetings, try saying no to meetings! Ask yourself the question will I add value? If the answer is no then tell the organiser, they’ll likely thank you for it. When you organise meetings yourself, be disciplined, set an agenda, ask attendees if they feel they can contribute and be disciplined with the follow up.

If you can get close to the calculations we highlighted above you could be saving a whole day in time, that’s massive. The upside is obvious, less stress, more time with family, more time spent doing the things you want to do and more productivity for your company.

Good luck!!

Take the easy option, try Amazemeet to help make your meetings better

Cutting through the BS, who’s benefitting from Amazemeet?

So who’s benefiting from Amazemeet? Sometimes is easy to lose sight. But, we’re all about people, after all people have meetings!

So who’s benefiting from Amazemeet?
After all Amazemeet is a broad church, that’s certainly true of our user base, and so it should be as everyone deserves to have better, effective meetings. We speak to the Amazemeet community regularly so we thought we’d share the story of three people in very different roles and how they have used Amazemeet to free up time and make the meetings they do have better.

Johnny, large IT firm.

Johnny works at one of the big global IT companies. He’s got a hybrid role where he travels extensively and when he’s not he’s on video calls and conferences regularly. Because his time is often taken up travelling he wanted a way to make the meetings he does have more efficient. Amazemeet ticks that box perfectly. Using the platform Johnny can tailor each meeting so the attendees, timings, timescale and outcomes are all clearly laid out and defined. Shareable notes make it easy for him to catch up and keep everyone informed, especially around tasks and next steps.

"Amazemeet helps me stay organised and keeps my meetings efficient so i can spend time doing work not just reviewing work" Click To Tweet

Like a lot of people he’s found that using Amazemeet has really streamlined his meetings he and allows him to spend more time “doing” his job. This is essential because his role demands a lot of meetings. He’s now in a place where he spends far less of his evening’s catching up on actual work.

Kat, freelance strategist

Like a lot of people Kat left her role in a large consulting firm for the more flexible world of freelancing. Or so she thought. As she took on more clients she found herself having more and more meetings and spending more time account managing than actually delivering. Her goal was twofold, get her client contact under control and get her life back. Amazemeet helped with both. All Kat’s client meetings are run on Amazemeet and the client feedback is impressive.

"My clients love that I use Amazemeet, if nothing else they know my time is spent on my work for them not drinking coffee with them." Click To Tweet

Amazemeet has allowed her to structure her client meetings with clear goals and all invitees can be kept up to date with follow-ons. Much like Johnny getting the time back from meandering meetings has freed up time for work and her home life. Maybe the 5 hour working day is insight!

Peter, co-founder scale up

This is a familiar story. Start-up gets funded and grows, does well, has round two investment, grows some more. Somebody then realises that process and management haven’t grown, meetings take forever, there are too many with too many attendees. We’ve been there!

"We recognised we need to start operating like grown ups, meetings were a good place to start." Click To Tweet

Peter was desperate to find a way to get out of the bad meeting cycle that had taken hold. In fact many companies are experiencing this they just don’t recognise it. So as they say recognition of a problem is the first step to solving it. Pete started by trialling the free version, he liked it and soon all the companies meetings were being run via the platform. Time saved, he estimates, is up to 25% of the working week across the whole company, OK there’s only 35 people but that’s a hell of a lot of time.

So the next time you ask the question, who’s benefitting from Amazemeet, think of Johnny, Kat and Pete. I’m sure their stories are familiar. Better still why not tell us your story we’d love to hear it and share with the Amazemeet community. More importantly if you’re stuck in a cycle of bad meetings let us know, we can help.

Everyone should have great meetings, but not everyone does. Amazemeet is here to help try it FREE.

Christmas giving, bringing the Amazemeet community together.

Christmas giving

The response to our Christmas Giving campaign has been amazing, so many of you have voted for the cause you support the most.

I had the most amazing thing happen to me today. Totally unexpected but turned out to be one of the best feelings of the day.

Today was the the day I had penned in my calendar to make the donations that we promised to make as our Christmas gift – the one that we asked you to help direct.

I checked our counter and the results were humbling – and close!

Over 900 of you – Amazemeeters – responded to our Christmas Giving email and selected where you would like us to donate our $500 gift. The results were close, in 1st place was Climate Change and tied in 2nd place were Refugees and Children focused causes. In the end we decided to split the donation 250/125/125 so that each of these really important causes got something of our gift.

As I made the donation on each site and received the notifications of gratitude, I felt such a profound sense of contributing to something that otherwise seems so insurmountable. I felt proud that in a small way, we could help make a difference and for that I am incredibly grateful to each one of the Amazemeet users who engaged in this campaign.

There are Amazemeet users all over the world, so it was fitting that we picked some organisations that addressed climate change, refugee and child welfare on a global scale.

For climate change we selected the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN) – a truly international partnership of governments and organisations , communities that together have 90% of the world’s remaining rainforests under their management. They have an incredible duty and burden to protect this for all of Earth’s inhabitants.

We donated $250 to the Coalition for Rainforest Nations(CfRN)

To support refugees, we chose the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) – the arm of the UN that is first on the scene when refugee crises happen, deploying vital aid and logistics to help those affected to get through it. In recent years – through conflict, environmental disaster, economic meltdown – they have been stretched to the limits and still they are there.

…and $125 to the United Nations High Refugee Agency (UNCHR)

Finally to help the cause of welfare of children, we selected UNICEF – the United Nations Children’s Fund – a UN agency that operates in 190 nations helping to uphold the rights of children to education, nutrition, health, equality and other incredibly important needs that many in the world take for granted. Unicef does this both at strategic levels with governments and in the field – for example leading childhood immunisation against nasty diseases like cholera, measles and others.

…and $125 to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef)

Whilst you’re here did you know we’ve just launched a new version of Amazemeet. Try it free.

Amazemeet version 2.0 is live and there’s more in store for 2020.

amazemeet version 2.0

When Mike started Amazemeet he wanted to help people have effective meetings. Why? Because he’d spent his career working with the world’s biggest companies where most employees hated having meetings.

The meeting canvas was born and this led to the development of the Amazemeet platform to open this tool up to anyone motivated to have more effective meetings. At first it was about being more productive but the Amazemeet team quickly realised that fixing the meeting addiction that’s taken hold of modern business culture was about more. Employee wellbeing was suffering and Amazemeet presented a perfect solution.

The rest as they say was history, 10,000+ users, amazing feedback but more importantly a simple product that really worked to solve a real problem.

So why Amazemeet version 2.0?

Like any product Amazemeet can always get better. The whole team are motivated to make meetings better and that means making Amazemeet super simple to use, intuitive and easy to pick up. The core of the product based around Mike’s original meeting canvas remains but Amazemeet version 2.0 packages it all up in an interface that user will love to use.

Amazemeet version 2.0 comes with a complete visual redesign as well as a simplified user expereince that makes it easy to plan and start your first meeting.

Amazemeet version 2.0 features focus on delivering the benefits of more effective meetings.

"Amazemeet version 2.0 is a complete level up of the market leading meeting effectiveness platform." Click To Tweet

As we look ahead to 2020 the Amazemeet roadmap is looking strong. We have a host of new features we’ll be rolling out to enhance the meeting design canvas. We’re hard at work developing an AI based assistant to add more value to the platform and this along with some other great features will form part of Amazemeet v3.0 which will land in Q2. We’re firm believers in the power of design, alongside v3.0 will be a further refinement of the design and interface to keep Amazemeet at the head of the pack. Lastly we will be launching our enterprise success platform which will be heavily linked to our better meeting community. The community we’re building is all about taking back control of our meetings and our time. We’re committed to creating a place where we can share best practice, learn from each other and support our community as we address the meeting culture problem most of us are facing.

One thing that certainly hasn’t changed is Amazemeet pricing. Every plan has a free trial, even the free forever plan!

Click below and start having better, more effective meetings.

Is the post prandial dip killing your meetings?

post prandial dip

The post prandial dip can play havoc with your meeting effectiveness. Here’s some tactics to stop that happening.

I think it’s worth starting the blog by explaining just what the post prandial dip actually is. Basically it’s the afternoon slump. What you eat for lunch is often a factor but the slump can occur regardless. In fact it’s human nature to feel sleepy in the afternoon. We could end the blog here and tell you all to grab a 2 hour nap in the afternoon, but seen as though that’s not always possible and we’re all about better meetings we’ve come up with a few tactics that can help avoid this in your meetings.

What goes up must come down

Food can be a major factor influencing the slump. Scientifically what’s happening when you eat the wrong kind of foods is either too much refined sugar in your system or low blood sugar. As always to maintain a healthy balance you should try to eat a lunch that consist of carbs, protein and fats. 2 mars bars and a protein shake is not the answer, equally a huge meal with loads of carbs might be delicious but it won’t do your afternoon alertness any favours. As always it’s about striking a balance and ensuring you minimise the drop in energy.

Don’t fight an uphill battle

It would be easy to suggest that food is the only factor in the afternoon slump. It isn’t. Science suggests that a drop in energy in the afternoon is also something that’s hardwired into our systems. Our bodies are governed by circadian rhythms which ebb and flow through the day. researchers discovered dips in alertness during the time we are usually asleep, midnight to dawn but also a secondary dip between 1pm and 4pm. the smart advice is to save the heavy thinking meetings for outside of these times. Preferably the morning when people are at there most alert. If you must meet keep plenty of low GI snacks on hand to keep energy levels up, avoid anything with a high refined sugar content and keep meetings short.

Make it easy for your team

A great way to stave off the afternoon slump is to eat healthily, exercise and get good sleep. As an organisation you can help, have plenty of healthy snacks on hand, provide gym memberships as a perk and don’t routinely keep your employees working until late evening. Smart organisations understand that getting the most out of employees isn’t about the length of time sat at desks, it’s about ensuring they are able to perform when it’s needed.

If you really want to shake the tree try a walking meeting or combine meetings with any activity designed to stave off the slump. It’s impractical to suggest you write off the hours between 1-4pm but it is very practical if you understand that certain meetings are likely to be less effective at this time.

Reach for the coffee

We all know coffee and caffeine is great to stave of sleepiness. It’s also a good option to boost energy post lunch. A scientific study showed that coffee staved of tiredness and improved post-lunch attention and concentration compared to a control group. But, be careful too much coffee is bad for you, and not everyone drinks it. Try tea or something else with caffeine. We should caveat this by saying we’re not suggesting you force feed your employees coffee to keep them alert! We think you’re sensible enough to realise this though.

Keep meetings short in the afternoon, plan them effectively.

If you have to meet in the afternoon keep it short. Plan the meeting well in advance, don’t let it meander. This is where a tool like Amazemeet comes in. The right attendees, the right focus and the right outcomes are only achieved by good meeting design and that’s exactly what Amazemeet does. Grab a look for yourself via the link below.