No-meeting Mondays: Uber gives employees a break from incessant meetings

Growing trends sees firms designate time for employees to concentrate

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Tuesday 27 July 2021 16:27 BST
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A growing number of companies are designating days as meeting-free after more than a year of video conferencing
A growing number of companies are designating days as meeting-free after more than a year of video conferencing (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Uber has declared two Mondays as meeting-free this summer to give employees a break from “back-to-back meetings”.

The move is part of a trend seen in a number of companies to allow employees time to focus rather than being interrupted by incessant video calls.

A companywide email sent by Uber’s chief people officer Nikki Krishnamurthy on 24 June and seen by Insider, designated 12 July and 9 August as “no meeting” days.

“We know it can be tiring to have back-to-back meetings with no time to focus,” Ms Krishnamurthy wrote.

Mondays were chosen as they “often feel like our most intense days,” she added.

“We thought it’d be a good opportunity to allow everyone to have focus time.”

Fridays were not considered as that is a weekend day in some Middle Eastern countries where the rideshare company operates.

Essential meetings might still occur on the designated dates, but employees are discouraged from scheduling other discussions on those days.

“You’ll see a block appearing on your calendars soon and encourage you to reschedule any meetings to other days,” wrote Ms Krishnamurthy.

The Independent contacted Uber for comment on the policy.

The onset of enforced remote work during the 16 months since the start of the pandemic has seen the number of online meetings soar, with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other services becoming part of everyday life.

With face-to-face interactions within an office environment gone, many people have found their workdays cluttered with scheduled meetings to have conversations that previously would have been conducted less formally.

Studies by Microsoft show that users of its Teams product doubled the amount of time they spent in meetings on the software from February 2020 to February 2021. The average meeting time also increased from 35 to 45 minutes.

Another study by the firm found that consecutive meetings increases stress levels and limits an employee’s ability to focus.

Other companies that have instituted no-meeting days include Facebook and workflow software firm Asana, both of which have designated Wednesdays.

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