Uplevel Blog

[Feature launch] Uplevel insights to improve meeting health

On our eternal quest toward more effective productivity, we spend a lot of time thinking about meetings. Uplevel looks at everything from time spent in meetings to prevalence of multitasking during them (we can’t quit you, Slack), giving a sense of overall “Meeting Health.”
Author: uplevel
Tags: News

We’ve shared research about simple changes that significantly improve meetings (we dare you to experiment with 48-minute meetings), we’ve debated if shorter meetings are really better, we’ve adapted to the new world of remote meetings, and we developed Uplevel tools to answer common 1:1 questions like “when will I have time for what I actually want to work on?”

Today, we’re taking this a step further with a new product announcement: the Meeting Classifier.

New Feature: A Data-Driven Deep Dive on Meetings

Between daily Zoom check-ins, remote town halls, and quasi-mandatory virtual charades, the era of socially distanced meetings raises new questions. We know that engineering team managers need transparency in order to better protect time for the vital things, like weekly 1:1s and Deep Work.

Thanks to the Meeting Classifier, managers can now explore a detailed breakdown of team meeting time, on both a weekly and monthly basis. This tool was designed to help you better understand what’s taking up time—and, potentially, getting in the way of productivity.

So, what kinds of meetings are conquering the calendar? Look to the Uplevel chart of Meeting Types for a detailed breakdown.

  1. Select any team member to see how much time of their time is spent in working sessions, Deep Work, or social events.
  2. Compare the patterns over a four-week period—then, look to the week ahead to proactively protect Deep Work time.
  3. Interested in your own calendar? Dig into the details of your meetings to see who and what take up your time, and when.
  4. Understand the meeting classification system in the detailed table view, which shows titles, owners, and times.

With the Meeting Classifier, managers and their teams can gain insight into how time is spent today, so that you can make meaningful changes and watch the trends improve over time.

Beyond the Meeting Classifier: How to improve your Meeting Health

Having the data isn’t the same as using the data. We recommend these four exercises to review your team’s meeting health, along with the right questions to ask and changes to implement.

  • Review which types of meetings take the most time.
    • Are you spending too much time in one category? Consider the time spent in interviews or recruiting-related meetings, or the hours scheduled for internal admin meetings.
    • Look at time spent in 1:1s. Are you regularly meeting with your direct reports?
    • Are there any recurring meetings that might not be valuable? (Perhaps they were helpful at the start of the year, but no longer have an impact. Time to clear.)
    • Is anything surprising to you? Write it down for your next manager or 1:1 check-in.
  • Review your upcoming meetings.
    • Do you have time set up for Deep Work? Ideally, you want to see daily blocks of two hours of consecutive hours or more.
    • Do you have adequate time scheduled with your direct reports? (They might need more—or less—while working remotely.)
    • Set up your future for success now. Block the time that you need to get your work done, rather than visiting the calendar next week to cancel hours before unwanted meetings.
  • Collaborate with other managers to fix systemic issues.
    • Open a discussion with your team regarding solutions to reduce their meeting time. Understand the “who, what, when” of the most time-consuming meetings and listen to what your team finds valuable (or not). Then, take your Meeting Health data to your next 1:1 with your director or VP to help show where change is needed
    • Connect with other managers over Slack or a dedicated Zoom meeting to share ideas that support cross-team collaboration while reducing meeting time. For example, can your weekly 30-minute meeting move to a bi-weekly 60-minute meeting to reduce the number of days with a short interruption?
    • Advocate for a meeting-free day across the org. For example, Avalara implemented “No Meeting Fridays,” which protects Deep Work time more than any other day of the week.

Throughout our research, teams from countless tech companies have shared their stories of “meeting hell.” We’re committed to supporting healthier, happier meetings that actually help work get done—supporting collaboration without disrupting productivity.

Want to see more? Request a demo.