At many companies, meetings are something workers dread. This feeling of dread can worsen in the bright, happy summer months.

Instead of being excited to get work done or discuss new ideas, employees often find themselves wondering when the meeting will end so they can go back to work -- or head out for the day.

However, there are several creative approaches you can take to help employees get more excited about meetings. If you use these strategies, your whole office could become more productive, efficient, and effective.

Here are my three favorites:

1. Keep employees on their toes (or feet).

Many employees spend their entire day sitting at their desk working, without much time to walk around or interact with other coworkers. As a result, employees may feel sluggish, and they may not feel a strong connection with their co-workers. This is where "walking meetings" come in.

These meetings can take place outdoors or indoors, as long as employees can stand or walk around. Some companies even play sports like basketball during meetings.

This will help everyone in the room feel more active, energetic, and willing to participate in meetings. Taking a walk and talking feels more casual than sitting in a conference room, and the casual environment helps coworkers connect.

Placing trash cans, printers, water, and other supplies in a common room so workers must get up from their desk to throw something away or grab a snack or office supplies. On the way there, they might run into a coworker and strike up a conversation.

The walk itself wakes people up. It can lift people's spirits because they are socializing and moving around. It can also boost blood flow to the brain, which will aid in better idea-sharing and higher levels of health and productivity.

2. Keep meetings short.

One of the reasons why employees might dread meetings is because of how long they take. Some meetings tend to drag on for too long, and employees get bored and frustrated.

To cut down on meeting length, set clear goals and guidelines about what the meeting is covering. This will help prevent your staff from going off on tangents and speaking about unrelated topics.

Maybe this seems easier said than done to you. Here's how to actually achieve it.

Set a timer on your phone and enforce small penalties for meetings that go over the allotted time. You could even ask workers to do push-ups if the meeting runs too long, or start taking away chairs so everyone must stand until the meeting ends. This of course won't work for older or disabled workers, so find a penalty more appropriate for them.

Try setting meetings at odd times, like 9:13 AM, or make employees perform in front of everyone if they're late. This may reduce the number of tardy attendees and speed things up.

It could also be smart to simply remove the meeting altogether. Google rarely -- if ever -- calls meetings for the sake of making a single decision.

The idea, according to a blog post penned by Google executive Kristen Gil, is that such a meeting can slow down or even hurt the project in question. Save your meetings for more important topics.

3. Care about your employees.

This almost goes without saying: Many employees don't always feel cared about.

If people feel appreciated, they'll want to do more for their employer. If they contribute more, your meetings will become more efficient and effective due to the increased energy and effort.

Give them positive motivation. If employees reach certain goals, they might be able to earn a bonus, a restaurant gift certificate, or some other reward of your choice.

Simply ask them how they're doing, and listen to their responses. The more you know about them, the better relationships you can build.

Finally, ask for feedback from employees. It shows you care about their wants and needs. Ask how they think you can improve meetings. Implement their ideas if they have good ones.

Showing that you're willing to listen encourages them to talk more during meetings too, which may make them more effective and fun. And of course, the sooner you're done with the meeting, the sooner you can get outside and enjoy the sun this summer.

Unless, of course, you held the meeting outside in the first place.

Published on: Jun 8, 2018