Meetings are an important part of team collaboration and connection. But if all your time is spent in a conference room or on Zoom, when are you actually supposed to get work done?
Oftentimes, teams default to meetings as the primary way to communicate with one another about projects and updates. While meetings are certainly valuable for collaborating, addressing blockers, and connecting as a team, meeting overload leads to decreased productivity and engagement, and burnout.
Range helps teams reduce their meeting load by providing another way to stay in sync — through asynchronous, structured Check-ins. With Check-ins, it’s easy for everyone to communicate updates and access the information they need for their jobs without having to sit through more meetings.
In this article, we’ll cover how to:
The first step in cutting down on your current meeting load is to evaluate what you’re working with in the first place. Start by taking a look at the agenda of your current meetings and breaking them apart into two groups: meetings geared towards status updates versus meetings geared towards collaboration. If most of the meeting is focused on status updates, then it’s a good candidate to move to an asynchronous format, like a Check-in.
Some common meetings that work well asynchronously include daily standup meetings, scrum meetings, weekly project check-ins, or anything that feels like a round robin of updates. For meetings that are a mix of status updates and discussion — like a team meeting — you might consider moving the status update components to an async pre-read beforehand. This way, you can shorten the meeting length and help everyone come prepared for a productive discussion.
Once you’ve identified meetings you’d like to try out asynchronously, it’s time to move them to Range Check-ins.
Check-ins make it easy to share structured, asynchronous updates that keep everyone in the loop. They give back time each week to teams so they can focus and get work done, and provide rich documentation of what your team is up to — so you never have to worry about losing track of updates or forgetting to write something down.
Tip: Start small. If you’ve identified multiple meetings that would work well in an asynchronous format, experiment by shifting one to Check-ins first to give your team time to adjust, offer feedback, and find their flow.
You can set a custom Check-in in Range, and can even adjust it to correspond to your current meeting schedule.
For example, if folks are used to doing an in-person standup at 10 am, you can set it up so they’ll be reminded to do their async Check-in at that same time. When you set a schedule, Range will send out reminders to the team and a summary of everyone’s Check-in later on.Learn more about Check-in schedules
Prompts give structure to Check-ins so you can easily collect all the information you need from your team about in-flight projects, blockers, and more. They make the process more lightweight and focused, too. With a little guidance, folks know exactly what to share each week and it becomes easier for everyone on the team to adopt the practice.
In Range, there are two types of prompts:
You can customize your prompts depending on the information you typically collect and cover in your meeting. For instance, for a daily standup, you might use some of the following prompts:
You can also choose to switch up your prompts throughout the week to bring different things into focus.
To edit the existing prompts or add a custom one, go to Settings > Check-in customization. Then select Default schedule and Customize Check-in prompts.Learn more about Check-in prompts
You can connect Range to your team's Slack channel to read and share updates there, so you’ll never miss a beat.
First, make sure you’ve got the Range app for Slack set up. Then, go to your team channel in Slack to subscribe to the teams and #tags you want to follow in Range. It’s helpful to connect your team in Range to your team in Slack — when you do, you can share and read updates without ever leaving Slack. Subscribing to #tags can be useful for cross-functional projects — where folks outside your direct team are also contributing updates.
Type: /range subscribe #[tag] to subscribe to a tag or /range subscriptions and select a team.Learn more about using Range and Slack together
Once you’ve got everything set up, you’ll want to be intentional with how you communicate these changes to your team.
You can use the following email template to share your thought process and get everyone on board.
Over the last quarter, we’ve heard feedback that our schedules have gotten too meeting-heavy.
To solve this, we’ll be testing out a new format to cut down on the number of hours we spend in meetings each week and hopefully free up more of your time.
We’ll be experimenting with a new, asynchronous format for our [MEETING NAME].
This means that, rather than come together to meet as a group, you’ll be able to write and share an update for these in your own time. We’ll be using Range for this. I’ve already set up reminders and prompts to make it easy to share your update just like you would in our in-person meeting.
Why are we doing this?
Include 1 sentence here about what you’re trying to accomplish
Here are a few resources that I think you’ll find helpful as you start using Range:
I’d love to hear your feedback as we pilot this new experiment, so please feel free to reach out at any time along the way with ideas for how we can make this work even better.
Meetings should push forward the work your team is doing, not slow it down. If you’re getting bogged down with back-to-back meetings and find there are too few hours to focus during the workday, it’s probably time to give async communication a try.
Range Check-ins help teams stay in sync and get more done, by eliminating extra meetings and making it easy to incorporate asynchronous communication into any workflow.Get started with Check-ins on your team