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Note From the Editor: Give me a break

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 15 April May 10 2020

September 2020

We’re all running from videoconference to videoconference these days. We’re noting with some surprise that we actually can have effective meetings and discussions online and we’re even experimenting with break out sessions and other forms of interactivity. We´re saying to each other that actually, video-meetings can be more efficient than meeting in a room.

But we also note that these videoconferences are draining our energy – they are tiring us out more than physical meetings. In fact, this should teach us that the ‘ineffective’ parts of the meetings do have a function and it should teach us not to run from one meeting to another.

I propose that an hour’s meeting should be forbidden to last more than 50 minutes. We need our university management to decree that there has to be 10 minutes (OK, 5 minutes) break in every hour of meetings. If the meeting lasts more than an hour, we’ll call it “convenience break”.

That will allow us not only to fetch fresh coffee or tea – or attend to other calls of nature – it will also help us to mentally digest what happened in the past session and prepare for what will happen in the next. Who knows, it may reduce the chance that overburdened executives shoot down your proposal simply because they felt bad about something that happened in the previous hour!

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