Take a Break! Applications Directorate Meetings Free Lunchtimes Initiative

In January this year the University Principal raised the idea of introducing “Meetings Free” periods for University staff at lunchtimes and Fridays. The Principal’s suggestion followed reports of staff overloads during the current working from home period with back to back meetings taking place right through the day. This suggestion was one of the number of helpful proposals introduced by the University to support staff including the respite days over the Easter holiday period.

In response, Applications Directorate introduced our new “Meetings Free Lunchtimes” (MFL) initiative in late February. Meetings Free Lunchtimes provided optional guidance for staff attending and arranging meetings during the 12 to 2 PM period. The guidance suggests staff block a daily “Lunch Break” and/or “Meetings Free” periods in their diary and, wherever possible, avoid setting up formal meetings between 12 and 2 PM.  Our aim was to support staff well-being by reducing meetings overload and ensuring all our staff have a regular break over the lunch period.

At the end of April, we ran an anonymised online survey to find out how well MFL has met these objectives and made a difference for staff. We’d like thank the 47 staff who responded to the survey. The main findings from the survey are summarised in the diagram below:

In response to these results the Director has now agreed to extend MFL to end December 2021. We are also supporting an initiative to provide additional guidance for Online Meeting Etiquette including better management of the start and finish times of our meetings to help ensure adequate breaks. Our Section Heads will also be encouraged to review the full survey findings with their teams to identify any other priorities for further improvements that will particularly benefit their teams.  

Meetings Free Lunchtimes Guidance: Meetings Free Lunchtimes – InSite – Wiki Service (ed.ac.uk)

Full Survey Results: Resources Meeting – 25-MAY-2021 – InSite – Wiki Service (ed.ac.uk)

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