Fixing Culture the Wrong Way

I like Google calendar at work. If everyone in an organization uses it, scheduling meetings with multiple people is easy. The calendar shows you when they’re free, without having to play “does 3 o’clock work for you” ping pong.

In organizations with too many meetings — or where looking busy is valued above productivity — people start to add fake meetings to their calendar. To fight this cultural problem, it’s common to block off work time, a lunch break or whatever.

Now I’m back to square one and writing to half a dozen people, “ok, I looked at your calendar but when are you really available to meet?”

The problem isn’t that people want time to actually work and have lunch; the problem is that if you don’t explicitly schedule time for those, low value meetings will fill the empty space on your calendar.