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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Estonia’s Weekdone faced with $37 Billion worth of non-productivity

No one likes inefficient meetings. They drain your focus, waste your time and on the long run they end up costing a good deal of money. This is why it’s always nice to do a recap on Estonia’s Weekdone. They have been waging a war on meeting inefficiency for some years now, and every once in a while they reach out to us with a PR comeback, sleeves full of fresh app features and shocking statistics to showcase. This time, however, some of the stats are pretty jaw dropping indeed.

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According to TED, no less than 50% of people find meetings to be unproductive, and no less than an estimated $37 billion is lost due to this inefficiency (note to TED: I would like to point out that when dealing with sensational data like this, references should be from academic sources, which in this case, they are not, so caution with these claims is advised). In the end, however accurate these numbers might be, one thing is for certain: without any level of organisation, meetings live up way less to their potential than they could, or should for that matter.

But it’s not just money that is lost. According to survey results obtained by Clarizen (note 2: surveys are a good source of data), regular status update meetings undermine worker productivity. Three in five employed adults reported that preparing for a status meeting took longer than the meeting itself, which translates to an average of 4.6 hours spent each week for status meeting preparations, and another 4.5 hours for attending them. If the meeting is, in fact, regarded as pointless by the employee, it’s no wonder there’s a dramatic decrease in creativity.

Now it’s been a while since we covered Weekdone, so a quick reminder is probably in place: Weekdone is a task management application aimed at turning company meetings more productive. The app uses a weekly fill-in PPP (Progress, Plans, and Problems) check-list to help employees and employers get better understanding on what their meetings should actually focus on. Roughly a year ago, following a wave of requests from users, Weekdone re-launched their app with OKR (Objectives and Key Results) to be better suited for long-term goal and productivity coverage. Both ‘doctrines’ are still major elements of the app, but there are a few new quirks in today’s Weekdone app, or the Team Meeting Toolkit as they call it.

For example, during the meeting itself, in order to maximise meeting consistency, Weekdone has implemented in their toolkit a Team Meeting Timer – a meeting time tracker that makes sure you won’t waste another second. It allows you to set meeting length, after which you start the timer and aim to finish by the time the clock runs to zero.

Another feature is the dashboard, in which a manager can set and observe trends in their team’s success. In this dashboard, Weekscore visualises the mix of a team’s happiness, task completion percentage, overdue and problematic item counts. Each of the four parameters can give up to 25 points: the higher the total score, the better it is. Problems give negative points, all the rest positive. Weekdone recommends trying to keep the Weekscore above 80. Lower than that and something could be wrong: people not completing plans, tasks being overdue, lots of problems or low levels of happiness.

Managers can also make use of the Configurable reward badges to motivate users, using Weekdone for tracking their plans-progress-problems. It’s a tool to help leaders take the next steps regarding each person: they can set the number of goals employees must reach in order to activate the badge, and quickly see who has been up to the task.

Apart from the tangible new app features, Weekdone has put emphasis on preventive participation criteria, and when you think about it, it makes pretty solid sense. If you don’t have anything to bring on the table, then why should you attend the meeting? So, using the schema below, you can find out whether you actually need to attend your team meeting:

In conclusion, everyone hates unproductive meetings. Weekdone has somewhat of a juicy pragmatism with which it tackles that problem, and it’s a cause you sort of have to love them for. For a team of up to three users, Weekdone is still free to use. Teams of 10, 25 and 50 users will find the pricing to be $49, $99 and $189 respectively.

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Raf is a tall, lanky Finn wandering in the UK academic landscapes. With an MA in Psychology (University of Aberdeen) he's taken his penchant for brain studies a step further by embarking on a MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. Long-time lurker and contributor at AS, always hungry for fresh story leads in Tech/Espionage/the Absurd.

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