Five science-backed tips for boosting productivity in office meetings

Productivity is one business buzzword that isn't going away anytime soon – and with figures suggesting that UK productivity is well below that of other European countries, it's no wonder more focus is being placed on finding ways to improve productivity levels in the workplace, particularly in office meetings.

We've all been in meetings that never seem to end and, in most office environments, they're unavoidable – but how they're conducted can have a significant impact on their productivity. In this post, we're breaking down five science-backed tactics for boosting productivity in office meetings, ensuring they stimulate rather than stifle it.

Remember time is of the essence

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With the average attention span in meetings being about 52 minutes, you'd think we'd have clocked on to the fact that long meetings are a drain on productivity – but this definitely isn't the case, with most meetings going on for at least two hours.

Understandably, there are times when longer meetings are essential but, where possible, it's a good idea to cap meetings at 30-45 minutes and stick to a strict agenda – this will ensure everyone stays focused on the topic for the duration of the meeting.

For meetings that stretch over an hour, try to schedule in a quick 10-minute break for attendees, as taking time out from work is proven to positively impact on productivity. Allowing individuals to re-energise and refocus – especially in longer meetings where concentration levels can easily dip after a period of time – will make a huge difference.

Provide ample refreshments

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If you're looking to get the most out of your meetings, and improve office productivity on the whole, don't underestimate the importance of providing ample refreshments for staff. Dehydration can have a serious impact on the brain's cognitive function, decreasing our ability to concentrate and carry out basic tasks – it's therefore crucial that employees have access to fresh drinking water to stay fully hydrated and alert.

You may also want to supply a choice of high-quality hot drinks for a little pick-me-up during office hours – like Nespresso-compatible capsules for coffee aficionados or a selection of branded teas for loose leaf fanatics.

Introduce a little greenery

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Far from just brightening up the place, adding indoor plants to your office space and meeting rooms can actually boost productivity levels by up to 15 per cent, according to recent studies. Adding a little green flora to your working environment will not only work to purify the air, but also increase employee wellbeing and morale. Whether you opt for pretty peace lilies, striking dracaenas or a tropical-looking snake plant, a little greenery can go a long way when it comes to boosting your staff's productivity levels in meetings and in general.

Make meetings bright and airy

When it comes to creating the perfect meeting environment, considering the natural elements could help you to increase productivity levels. One study indicates a link between natural light and employee happiness, wellbeing and productivity, while another study also reveals air quality as a contributing factor. Creating office spaces and meeting rooms that are flooded with as much natural light and fresh air as possible could make a real difference to team productivity. Strip back the blinds, open the windows, minimise furniture and clear out clutter to create a bright and airy workplace.

Consider colour psychology

Psychologists have long discussed the significance that colour has on the brain, in terms of conjuring up different emotions and associations that affect our moods and everyday decisions without us even thinking about it.

We all have colours that we associate with certain emotions, be it yellow with happiness or green with nature – either way, they all have a lasting impression on us. Therefore, when it comes to your office design, it pays to incorporate colours that contribute to a more productive environment, depending on the type of tasks being carried out. Orange is associated with creativity. while blue and green tones are considered to have a calming effect, and red can increase the heart rate and stimulate competitiveness. Finding your perfect colour scheme could be the key to unlocking productivity potential.

With so many business owners looking to drive business growth and streamline internal processes, it's likely productivity will stay in the spotlight for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, with these tips, you can find actionable ways to improve productivity in office meetings and throughout the working day.

Further reading on productivity

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