The Shopify Meeting Purge: An Employer’s View of the Public Sector and the Prospects for Improvement and Elimination in the Workforce
In a memo to employees Tuesday, Shopify said it would do away with all previously scheduled recurring meetings involving three or more people and impose a “two-week cooling off period” before any of those meetings can be added back on to calendars.
Nejatian has gotten more positive feedback on this change than he has on anything else he’s done at Shopify. He was told that they had to write code all day for the first time in a long time.
The way employees use workplace communication tools is something that Shopify is taking aim at. The company said its employees’ Slack usage can be “bloated, noisy, and distracting.”
A tidal wave swept through the social networking site. Some called the move bold and brilliant but hesitantly referred to it as ” well-intentioned, but an overcorrection.” Most people felt that meetings had spun out of control, and that there was a longing for change.
Microsoft found that the amount of time the average person spent in a meeting more than tripled between February 2020 and February 2022.
Many companies, NPR included, are trying out meeting diets. A day after Shopify’s news dropped, NPR newsroom managers sent out a memo imploring people to be on the lookout for meetings that can be shorter, less frequent or eliminated all together.
Needless to say, Rogelberg is not a fan of the Shopify-style meeting purge. But he does see a silver lining. He’s been studying meetings for decades. He’s written books about how to fix them. He gives a lot of instructions on how to do a meeting.
They’re made up of the stuff that inspires constant phone checking and longing looks at the door: the agenda items are all recycled, there are way more people than necessary in attendance, one person dominates, and they stretch on and on.
With everyone reduced to a small rectangle on a screen, there are no head-of-table effects. The chat box allows less powerful voices to be heard.