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  • Writer's pictureVedran Soric

15. Meeting Recovery Syndrome

Encountering meeting recovery syndrome can affect us all. You've probably experienced it at some point.

It is an integral part of anyone who has attended or will attend meetings - online and otherwise. A report by Dr. Steven, author of The Surprising Science of Meetings at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, examined how good and bad meetings affect participants.

The research also expanded on ideas from previous studies, which included inclusiveness, leadership, and a term called meeting recovery syndrome. The research was conducted on a group of British workers who believed that some of their leaders came to meetings unprepared.

Only 13% of them believe that their leaders have an effective meeting plan.

Furthermore, only 39% of Britons said that their leaders go into a meeting in a positive mood, while 73% of Britons believe that their leaders' attitudes affect the spirit of the meeting.

This study also suggested the existence of "Meeting Recovery Syndrome". The idea is that participants in bad meetings don't leave bad experiences at the door, but they stay and negatively affect them outside the meeting.

As humans, we switch between tasks a lot, from sitting in a meeting to working on a presentation. Switching consumes significant energy, and if we're already exhausted to dangerous levels, this switch will become even more tricky.

This is where people go and cyber-loaf, the act of going out for coffee and maybe interrupting another colleague to tell them about the boring meeting they just had and so on. Each person's recovery is different because some can recover quickly, while others need time and carry this fatigue throughout the day.

Researchers hypothesize that this syndrome needs time to restore our limited physical and mental resources. In short, people need time to recover from unproductive meetings, and with MRS, switching between tasks that take 10-15 minutes could roughly take up to 45 minutes.

Meetings drain a person's stamina when they fail to engage participants, take too long, or turn into one-sided lectures; therefore, taking time to recover is essential, but what if it comes at the expense of productivity.

It gets even worse when an employee has too many meetings scheduled without enough time to transition. There isn't enough time to recover for the next meeting, and the stringing together of back-to-back unproductive meetings can lead to an MRS outbreak.

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