How to create a 25% productivity hike: Lessons from Shopify’s meetings purge

When, at the start of the year, Shopify let loose a so-called “chaos monkey” to disrupt the Canadian multinational e-commerce company’s meeting culture, it was a shock to its 11,600 employees.

Initial panic – how would things possibly be achieved without meetings? – was quickly replaced by relief. And new data proved the move was a delightful surprise overall.

On Jan. 3, Kaz Nejatian, Shopify COO, posted about the calendar purge on Twitter. “Meetings are a bug,” he wrote. “To start 2023, we’re cancelling [sic] all Shopify meetings with more than two people. Let’s give people back their maker time.” 

Critics who questioned the bold decision might wish to stop reading here. However, business leaders with meeting-heavy company cultures are advised to take note, given the overwhelmingly vindicated strategy shift.

Following Shopify’s enforced changes – including “meeting-free Wednesdays” designed to encourage focused work – in research shared with WorkLife in late March, time spent in meetings dropped by 33% per employee in the first two months of the year compared to the same period in 2022. That time saved will equate to a 25% increase in completed projects by the end of the year, the company has estimated.

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in March 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Published by

Oliver Pickup

Multi-award-winning writer, content editor, ghostwriter, and TV and radio commentator (and occasional illustrator), specialising in technology, blockchain, startups, business, sport and culture. Founder of Pickup Media Limited. Interviewer of death row prisoners, legendary athletes, influential leaders, tech trendsetters, and cultural pioneers. By-lined in every English newspaper. Contributor to dozens of multinational publications.

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