Best Times for Meetings
Author: Molly Schwartz
Time is everything when it comes to efficiency. And when it comes to meetings, efficiency is the one thing you want to have consistently in every meeting. The way in which you conduct your meeting is important, but the time at which you hold your meeting is also important. So when’s the best time to have meetings? Let’s explore the best time and day for your business to have a meeting!
Best time of the day for meetings
If an average workday is from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., then the day would be split into
- Early Morning (9 – 10 a.m.)
- Mid-Morning (10 a.m. – 12 p.m.)
- Lunchtime/Lunch break (12 – 1 p.m.)
- Afternoon (1 – 3:30/4:00)
- Late Afternoon/Evening (4 p.m. and onwards)
That means you have five time blocks to work with. So with all this in mind, what are the benefits and pitfalls of each?
Early Morning: Having a meeting early in the morning can be good if you’d like to get it over quickly. Early mornings are best for a short 15 minute stand-up meeting or a quick check in. However, for the most part, early morning meetings should be avoided because many employees will still be sleepy. You don’t want to have to waste time repeating what was already said or wait on anyone to get back from the coffee machine. Meetings at the beginning of the day also mean that the employee should prepare for it the day before or come to work early, which can leave your workers feeling underprepared or overly stressed. Also, if your employees start at different times of the day, it can be difficult to get everyone in one room at once to start the meeting.
Mid-Morning: Mid-morning meetings tend to be more effective because employees have had the time to settle in, are alert, and haven’t been bogged down by many tasks yet. Flexibility also tends to jump up around 10 or 11 in the morning. If you hold a meeting right before lunch, your employees will not want to waste time because they will want to eat on time.
Lunchtime/Lunch break: Mealtimes tend to directly affect meeting times. If you choose to hold a meeting during a mealtime, you should consider providing food. Even if it’s not an entire meal, some drinks or small snacks will help employees feel productive and energized.
Afternoon: Employees are usually sluggish right after eating, but by 3 p.m., they’ll probably have the same amount of high energy from before lunch. Starting at 3 p.m., workers are much more likely to accept meetings than early in the morning. They’ll be more energized and have had time to reflect and prepare anything for the meeting. A 3 p.m. meeting gives you and your employees more breathing room than a 9 a.m. meeting that you have to rush to as soon as you get to work. Also at 3 p.m., most of the day has gone by, so attendees will want to handle their business efficiently so they can go home right after the meeting.
Late Afternoon/Evening: In late afternoon meetings, employees might just watch the clock tick and think about when the day is going to end. If your meeting is supposed to help make your employees more enthusiastic about something, the enthusiasm will wear off as the employee nears the end of his or her workday.
After reviewing the five time blocks in a study Keith Harris of WhenIsGood.com conducted, he found that the best time of day to have a meeting seems to be around 3 p.m. (afternoon). Employees have done most of their work, eaten a meal, and gathered more energy. They also tend to associate 3 p.m. with an afternoon snack or cup of coffee, so if you find people right around their energy peak, you get higher efficiency in your meetings.
Best day of the week for meetings
Now that we’ve gone over what time is best, let’s move on to the best day of the week to conduct a meeting. Mondays and Fridays are usually the least effective days to hold meetings because sometimes employees will use personal or vacation days to take a three-day weekend. Also, many times employees are still in weekend mode on Monday and are eager to get out of the office on Friday. For productivity and participation reasons, you should generally try to hold meetings on the middle three days of the work-week.
The middle three days of the week are best for meetings, and the afternoon is the best time of day for a meeting. So what’s the sweet spot during the week to hold a meeting? In a recent study done by meeting scheduling service WhenIsGood, the company found that most of their employees and responders accepted Tuesday at 3 p.m. as the best meeting time. While Tuesday was the best day for WhenIsGood, it might not be the best for you. So whether it’s Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, pick the day that resonates best with you and your employees.