Get more done with effective meeting and workload management | Inquirer Business

Get more done with effective meeting and workload management

Meetings are a prevalent feature of corporate culture, particularly in the Philippines.

These gatherings are meant to be structured avenues for the dynamic expression, transmission, and exchange of ideas, which if done right, can fast-track the achievement of business goals and good working relationships among colleagues and team members.

However, we are too often bogged down by ineffective meetings.


Who hasn’t fallen victim to underprepared agendas or presentation materials, or the operations of an entire department coming to a halt due to endless meetings, and worse, numerous follow-up meetings?


And speaking of these time and work inefficiencies, have you ever felt stressed and exhausted at work without seeing improvements in quality and timeliness of outputs?

 Working smart


We may know the difference between working hard and working smart, as well as the pros and cons of multitasking, but do we know exactly what tools and processes would be appropriate to apply to our own work goals and situations?

We spoke to Pia Reyes-Cruz, an HR and Organizational Development leader with 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, for her insights on how to avoid the so-called “death by meeting” phenomenon and promote effective workload management:

What are typical habits that hinder productive meetings?

The “bad habits” that usually get in the way of successful meetings are: having unclear or overloaded agendas, not giving a time limit to the meeting, not setting ground rules, inviting non-value adding participants, lack of proper documentation or preparation by the leader and participants, not having a logical flow, and giving in to distractions.


With modern online communication technologies, are face-to-face meetings still necessary?

Face-to-face meetings

The technology platforms that facilitate real-time discussions do help make remote meetings quicker, more convenient, and less expensive. However, the value of face-to-face meetings still outweighs that of online call and messaging tools. Face-to-face meetings build trust and understanding, as well as a sense of shared mission among participants. Misunderstandings and confusion often result from texts, emails, and chats, which is why face-to-face encounters are recommended for when big decisions are made or conflicts are sorted out.


How can effective workload management bring value to the company?

Effective workload management directly means getting more relevant work done. High productivity is one of the strongest drivers to attaining KPIs and eventually meeting overall business goals and strategies. On top of that, when companies emphasize and support employee productivity, they encourage a healthy culture of collaboration and integration, effective communication, decision-making, and high standards of performance.


Clarity of goals


What are some simple tips to avoid being overwhelmed by different tasks?

The main key is to ensure clarity of goals: which key result areas or tasks would make the most impact?  Which are the top priorities? Make sure you are aligned with your team on these, and block off time in your calendar to ensure you focus on tasks one at a time. Plan needed resources in order to work uninterruptedly and divide your tasks into manageable pieces. Learn how successful people work and continuously level up your skills and competencies. Do not multitask because studies show that lack of focus and increase in errors sets in after just 20 minutes. Lastly, take periodic breaks to recharge.

Pia is a steadfast believer in goal-setting and lifelong learning, and is skilled in workplace learning, performance and competency management, as well as leadership and career development. She will be facilitating a workshop on June 29, entitled “Leading  Productive Meetings: Optimizing Your Time and Resources”. Aimed toward frequent meeting facilitators and participants, the program will run through the techniques to run short and structured meetings, the different types of meetings you can use, and how to evaluate if a meeting is necessary in the first place.

On the other hand, her “Everyday Workload Management: Dealing Realistically With Time and Tasks” workshop on July 25-26 is appropriate for anyone managing a personal or team workload, and will provide tips on how to balance out tasks while optimizing resources and avoiding unproductive habits.

Both programs will be held at the Inquirer Academy, located along Don Chino Roces Avenue in Makati, and will introduce participants to workload and time management principles that help maintain focus on important tasks, while minimizing interruptions and disturbances. They will also be guided through strategies and techniques for delegating work, setting goals, adjusting to varying workloads and training themselves to develop daily discipline to not be overcome by stress.

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