Department of Homeland Security

Meetings without Chairs

Meetings. Most governmental employees cringe when they hear that they have to attend a meeting. The average person in my 550 person unit has at least 2 meetings every week. That is more than 55,000 hours spent each year in meetings at my small unit alone. I would like to make a few suggestions that would decrease an employees time spent in meetings. The first idea that I have seen in the civialian sector is to take the chairs out of meeting spaces. Not only are you saving direct costs on furniture, but you engage attendees to focus and stay on topic. This discourages going off topic and disruptions. The second idea is that no meeting should occur without an agenda. Meetings without agendas have a high risk of inefficiency. Agendas are created to quickly move a meeting along and ensure that all topics are covered. The final idea is to have meeting minutes, this not only ensures that action items are documented, but it helps ensure that the value of the meeting is captured. Both the agenda and meeting minutes do not need to be lengthy, but the value added is enourmous. For example, if 1 hour meetings were conducted in 30 minutes, which is easily attained, then at my unit alone we would have the additional work hours of more than 14 full time employees. Expanded across the US Coast Guard this same idea would return the man hours equal to 426 full time employees. The effort could be done by creating a challenge amoung Departments to demonstrate hours saved by more effective meetings. Metrics can be easily calculated by utilizing Microsoft Outlook which tracks meetings. The challenge could showcase government agencies that find more effecient ways to conduct meetings. Image a business where everyone was excited to attend meetings because it increased your teams productivity. It is not only a financial savings but a cultural shift to increase job satisfaction. If you like or support the idea, then I look forward to your comments.

I agree to have my idea, not my name or information, posted online. YES

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Idea No. 9677