Human Resources - Information for Managers

Work-Life Balance: Meetings Guidance

The University recognizes that all staff, including senior managers and academics, have personal commitments which should be respected and managers should be sensitive to the needs of staff to leave work promptly. However, a significant amount of University work is delivered through meetings. This guidance seeks to balance these conflicting pressures:

  • the University is increasingly moving towards delivering its services to a wider range of clients at an increasing number of locations and at times outside the previous conventions
  • not all staff work “conventional” hours and a Monday – Friday week
  • many staff have work commitments outside the University “day” and some have commitments outside of the University terms
  • most staff, if given sufficient notice, can do some re-scheduling of their attendance, especially if there is subsequent flexibility by modifying other times of attendance.

The following points may help to maximise the likelihood of attendance and increase the input all staff can make, while at the same time relieving staff of feeling pressure when they cannot attend:

  1. When establishing meeting times try to consider the work patterns of all the attendees and attempt to schedule a time when most can reasonably attend – this may be helped if the meetings can begin after 09:15 and end by 17:00.
  2. Circulating the request for a meeting as early as possible to allow staff to make alternative work arrangements.
  3. Managing the agenda and paperwork so that staff who are unable to attend can provide written/email comments before the meeting and/or attend for part of the meeting when their input is particularly critical. Teleconferencing or video conferencing may also help in some circumstances.
  4. Accepting that not every invitee can always attend: use a substitute or, if appropriate defer the item until that person can attend, or if the matter is pressing, try to consult before the meeting, but go ahead with the meeting anyway.
  5. Reviewing the attendance at regular meetings and see if there are persistent problems. Adjust accordingly.

Staff who frequently stay beyond core and/or contracted hours for such meetings are entitled to take time off in lieu, subject to the conditions of service which apply.

Human Resources
September 2004/Updated March 2009

Registry, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ

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Last Updated: 23/01/2013