As work forces transition into the “New Normal” which includes working remotely, employees are adapting exceptionally well to this model despite it bringing some challenges with it. As a response to employees’ concerns about the increased number of meetings since working remotely, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) introduced the No Meeting Wednesdays (NMW) initiative which takes place on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month.
NMW was launched on 5 August as a measure that will afford employees the opportunity to advance their projects and produce quality work with minimal distraction which can stem from attending several meetings in a day. The additional time saved during NMW can be invested in self-care regimes including exercise, yoga or meditation which will result in motivated and healthy teams. To ensure adherence to the initiative and consistency across the organisation, time is blocked out by Human Resources in all employees’ diaries on the applicable Wednesdays.
NMW is business as usual
NMW is a normal working day and is treated as such. Therefore, business operations continue to run smoothly. Due to the nature of the services that the JSE provides and operations of the business, some departments and teams will from time-to-time still have meetings on NMW and all employees honour their commitment to the business and their clients, thereby remaining accessible on emails, calls and meeting requests which require teams to attend to crises as and when they arise.
Performance and Productivity is imperative
This initiative was launched by the JSE to ensure that the day is dedicated towards optimising staff productivity and to ease the pressure that comes with attending multiple meetings while delivering on core business objectives. The efficacy and success of the NMW is dependent on all employees making the best of this dedicated focus delivery time/day to advance work that will further enhance the JSEs’ productivity and achievement of the business’ strategic goals and objectives.
Improved Productivity Through Effective Meetings
The volume of meetings since working remotely is what inspired the NMW initiative. However, meetings are an integral part of day-to-day running of a business and can’t be put on hold indefinitely. As an additional measure to further encourage productivity among the team, the Human Resources Department implemented the 5P’s – Purpose, Preparation, Process, Participation and Payoff – as tools that will help to ensure that meetings are focused and outcomes driven. While the business fully supports collaboration for co-creation as this forms part of the JSE’s core business values, it is equally important for employees to ensure that meetings are productive and goal driven in order to further ease the pressures that come with working from home.
With each meeting request, the organiser needs to provide a clear Purpose for the meeting because this will help all attendees to Prepare adequately for the discussion. An agenda for each engagement is mandatory as it will define the Process for the meeting and ensure Participation from all attendees because everyone in attendance will have something valuable to add to the engagement. Through the application of this formula, each meeting will have a Payoff which are key takeout’s that will feed into the success of the broader business.
The response from JSE employees to the NMW has been positive and encouraging. Many have shared that this initiative has not only increased their productivity but has further enabled them to invest more of their time in their families and personal lives. With the implementation of the 5P’s during meetings, JSE staff will be able to use their time effectively and avoid work impeding on personal time which is crucial for the well-being of the teams.
Employee wellness remains the cornerstone of the JSE and the exchange continues to investigate new initiatives and policies that will enhance the lives of its staff compliment.