10 Ways to Avoid Unnecessary Meetings with Asynchronous P2s

Our CEO recently asked us to reflect on this question for the new year: “Are all your meetings so effective that you look forward to them?” It’s important to also ask, if you are a meeting organizer, are attendees looking forward to your meeting? Live meetings have their place but are costly in terms of time and energy.

Asynchronous work has a lot of buzz but many don't know what it looks like or how to adapt to it. Some readers of this P2 are part of organizations that are looking to move to async work and to use P2 as Automattic makes use of it. Here are 10 P2 use cases that you might find useful.

1. Courses P2

Automattic and others are using P2 to train staff and teach courses using asynchronous courses and boot camps. Students don’t need to all be on the same Zoom call to learn and interact.

2. Requests P2s

Our legal staff tells us that in the past when someone needed a contract, the default was to schedule a meeting to discuss. The default now is to submit legal requests on the contracts P2. Our legal team has a standardized form to complete. The contracts can then be discussed in comments.

Additionally, Automattic’s Systems/IT team, Data Teams, and others have request P2s:

3. Status Reports P2

Automattic has a P2 called Thursday Updates where every team is required to provide a status update summary every two weeks. At many organizations, such updates would be delivered in Powerpoint at a live meeting, often to full rooms with people who don’t need to be there.

4. New Employee Introductions

With office cultures, when a new employee joins someone might walk them around the office to introduce them. Automattic asks every new employee to write a post and embed a video where they introduce themselves and co-workers respond and welcome in comments.

Another format is for a manager to interview a new team-mate:

5. New Hire Trials

Hiring new staff is often done in a series of Zoom calls or in-person meetings that can be exhausting for everyone. At Automattic, we create a P2 for each new candidate and work with them on trial projects.

6. Call Notes

It’s common to have a follow-up meeting where the first 10 minutes is where people try to remember what was said in a prior meeting. At Automattic, it’s a requirement that every external call have notes shared in P2. That way if you missed the call you can get a summary, or if you were on the call you can be reminded. You can also consider videoing the call and embedding the Loom or other video type in the P2 so that people can ask questions and comment.

You can also embed the video recording from a meeting into a P2 so that people can watch later and comment:

7. Collaborate with Partners and Customers On P2

Partners and clients will often want to schedule a regular meeting, even if there are no major updates to discuss. Consider creating a partnership or major client P2 and asking the partner or client to share updates there. Then only schedule meetings as needed.

8. Celebrate Wins

Office cultures might schedule after-work outings to celebrate wins or commemorate a year of success. As we can’t easily get people together in person it’s common at Automattic to use P2 to celebrate wins.

9. Meetup Guides and Summaries

Teams at Automattic periodically meet up in person. Team leads are tasked with researching and booking. They also must summarize meetups to share details like attendees, location, cost, projects, Internet speed tests, and other logistics. Without these posts, meetings might be required with accounting to discuss costs and with other team leads who are researching the location. Fun fact: historically Lisbon, Portugal and Hawaii have been the most popular meetup locations at Automattic.

10. Document a Challenging Topic

Automattic has a number of documentation P2s that we call Universities. We have everything from Domain University to Scheduling University. There is so much to cover in these university P2s that it might require a full-day live training session. With these P2 universities, staff can drink from these firehose on their own when they have time.