Meetings are Stones in Software Engineers’ Shoes
Pablo Baldomá Jones
Software engineers spend a third of their workweek in meetings, decreasing their ability to concentrate and, therefore, their productivity, according to a recently published study by time-management app Clockwise.
Software engineers must work for several hours without interruption to create code, so an overload of meetings only slows down tasks.
Why? Because attention can be lost once it is diverted from what is being done. It may take up to 23 minutes to regain focus.
Most software engineers agreed that their vital need when working is more "focus time" or concentration time. This is having a specific block of time to focus 100 % on their tasks without interruption or distraction. In this way, having fewer meetings generates not only that they perform better, but faster.
The study says that at larger companies, engineers have many more meetings: As companies grow, Engineering teams pay an increasing "coordination tax" in the form of meetings.
Focus time is also beneficial for companies since eliminating distractions will significantly increase the productivity of their engineers, and they will receive a more significant amount of income.
According to the study by Clockwise, engineers say
- 76% “Focus Time helps my company bring in more revenue.”
- 89% “Focus Time helps me finish projects faster.”
- 90% “Focus Time makes me more productive.”.
However, this is not intended to deny the importance of meetings in the workplace, far from it, but it would be optimal to find a balance.
In many companies, mainly the largest ones, meeting days are scheduled, and these are fixed, even if there is no topic to discuss, which is counterproductive.
The power of focus
Engineers are more productive when they can focus deeply. When asked whether Focus Time correlates to productivity, 52% of Engineering Managers strongly agree, and 38% agree.
Many promote using asynchronous collaboration tools to avoid unnecessary meetings and reduce wasted time. These tools facilitate communication and team integration because they allow teams to work on the same project in real-time and without being in the same physical place.
This discomfort on the part of software engineers regarding meetings brings with it a topic that has already been talked about a lot, and that is that companies must ensure the well-being of their collaborators to achieve success.
It is proven that those who care for their professionals' mental health also obtain productivity benefits.
How can we increase the focus time of software engineers?
To achieve higher loyalty rates and goals more effectively, companies must create trusting environments in which software engineers feel comfortable expressing their concerns or disagreements.
In this sense, weekly anonymous surveys could be carried out to find out in depth the needs they have and, in this way, work on solutions.
In short, if meetings during business hours are the main obstacle for software engineers to concentrate on their tasks and complete them effectively, then companies should pay attention and redesign the calendar so that they do not happen so often or have excessive duration.
Also, considering collaborative tools can minimize the time spent on them. It's just a matter of knowing how to read them.
If you want to know more about managing a team of remote software engineers, keep reading our blog.