Will others follow Shopify’s lead and cancel recurring meetings?
So many meetings. So little time left to get actual work done. Shopify isn’t having it anymore, at least for the next two weeks as part of a meeting freeze intended to boost productivity.
The e-commerce platform’s chief operating officer Kaz Nejatian earlier this week tweeted: “Meetings are a bug. Today, we shipped a fix to this bug at @Shopify. To start 2023, we’re cancelling all Shopify meetings with more than two people. Let’s give people back their maker time. Companies are for builders. Not managers.”
Shopify, the Financial Times reports, didn’t stop there with its anti-meeting crusade. Management has banned meetings on Wednesdays, and those with 50 or more people can only be held on Thursdays between 11 and five. Mr. Netajian told employees in a memo that the new rules will “delete nearly 10,000 events which equates to approximately 76,500+ hours of meetings.”
The company has also placed limitations on the use of internal messaging apps like Slack that leadership believes has also taken employees away from more critical activities.
Tobi Lütke, Shopify founder and CEO, called the company’s action a “calendar purge” in a statement to Fortune.
The same article pointed to a study published last year by Otter.ai, which found that up to one-third of all corporate meetings may be unnecessary. The research found that companies with more than 100 employees could save more than $2 million a year by cutting meetings and those with more than 5,000 employees could save $100 million a year.
CNN reports that Mr. Nejatian is urging Shopify employees to “be really critical” about how their time is used once the two-week freeze period is over. The company, he said, wants employees to cancel meetings going forward if they don’t serve a clear purpose.
Shopify, like Amazon.com and others in the e-commerce space, comes off a challenging 2022. The company cut its staff count by 10 percent last year after having engaged in a hiring spree in response to a boom in online shopping brought about by the pandemic.
- Kaz Nejatian – Twitter
- The great meeting bloat deserves this Shopify purge – Financial Times
- Shopify is axing all meetings involving more than two people in a remote work ‘calendar purge’ that the company itself calls ‘fast and chaotic’ – Fortune/Yahoo
- This tech company is clearing out recurring meetings from employee calendars – CNN
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How big an issue are excess meetings in corporate environments? What criteria should be used to decide if meetings are necessary and who should participate in them?