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5/26/2008
07:23 PM
Melanie Turek
Melanie Turek
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Midnight Meetings on the Rise

Recently, a friend complained to me that he spends more time in middle-of-the-night meetings than ever before (or maybe ever, period). He's just been assigned to manage a global team, and since half of them are 12 hours away, his schedule is seriously messed up. Although he's happy not to travel as much, thanks to conferencing and IM, he noted that at least if he were traveling, he'd be getting a complete night's sleep much more often.I understand his pain. The global team I work with has been trying for weeks to schedule a group-wide meeting in which all of us can participate, with no luck. Thanks to time zones and prior obligations (both work and personal), we can't seem to find a time that works for everyone.Interestingly, one of the consequences of a virtual workplace is that decisions get made by fewer people, since most managers won't take the time to hear from everyone if doing so will delay necessary action. I generally find this freeing and productive, but it has a casualty: collaboration. Making decisions quickly is one thing, but getting input from all parties before the decision is made hasn't become any less valuable even as it's gotten more difficult.I suppose my team has a few options:Identify a time to meet that is within daylight hours for everyone, even if it's not during normal work hours, and insist everyone attend, prior personal and professional obligations be damned.Identify a time to meet that is within daylight hours for everyone, and just go with whoever shows up.Identify one person to speak to everyone on a regional basis, conducting mini brainstorming sessions and reporting back to everyone.Use a wiki to do our collaborating.I like that last idea best, but I'm curious to hear how your organization is handling this issue... please weigh in!

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