Agency leaders debate the impact meeting invites can have on workplace anxiety

9 months ago

Workplace anxiety has been a topic of discussion in recent years- and over the weekend, LinkedIn users discussed a ‘simple fix’ that could help managers communicate with their staff

Over the past weekend, LinkedIn was abuzz with a hot topic: the significance of including descriptions in calendar invites.

This seemingly small managerial task has emerged as a key discussion point among professionals on the platform. The conversation was ignited by Chris Donnelly, the co-founder of The Lottie Organisation and the brains behind Verb Brands.

Earlier in the week, Donnelly shared his ‘Monday Manager Hack’ on LinkedIn, using an image of a past post as a point of reference. In his post, he said: “The catch-up meeting invite you send might seem trivial to you, but it could induce considerable anxiety for someone else.” In an attempt to alleviate any concerns or anxiety, he advocated for a simple yet effective solution: “Just write a short description in the calendar notes of what you want to discuss.”

His perspective resonated with many, prompting hundreds of professionals to take to the comment section to echo his sentiment. A significant number agreed with him, recounting their personal experiences of feeling anxious about ambiguous meetings that had been added to their calendar – for many, a brief description could have easily dispelled their concerns.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash
LinkedIn users shared their thoughts on the advice (Image: Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash)

Sahil Bloom commented: “I definitely wasted hours of my life worrying about “touch base” calendar invites.”

Jennifer Felton added to this saying: “There’s nothing worse than being asked at 9:00 a.m. if you have time at 3:00 p.m. to ‘catch up’ or ‘talk about a few things’… The anxiety gets even worse when you reply with ‘yes and can you send over a few bullet points for the agenda so I can be prepared?’ And they respond with: nothing big, chat with you later! That will literally derail someone’s productivity for the day”

Tom Alder shared some advice, saying: “A courtesy message saying ‘Just dropped this in, feel free to move to a time that works, keen to collab on XYZ’ goes such a long way!”

And the Workplace Bullying Project added its opinion sharing: “100%. The ‘can you join a quick call?’ message via Slack can prompt an anxiety or panic attack for many. Professional courtesy dictates that you communicate with transparency, clarity, intent and respect. Respect your colleague so they know the purpose of the meeting and can come prepared. Some people’s days are ruined by the ambiguous ‘catch up call’ invite. Stop it!”

Some people’s days are ruined by the ambiguous “catch up call” invite. Stop it!

Workplace Bullying Project

However, some people did not agree with the concerns, arguing that the issues must run much deeper if people are anxious about a meeting invite. Mike Inman said: “Why would ‘catch up’ be a huge distress to someone? Having a meeting to “discuss the X project” in the subject doesn’t reduce the chance that they’ll bring you in on that premise and something bad happen… They’re certainly not going to make the meeting subject ‘Your last day’…. talk about anxiety…”

Thomas Johnstone added: “If the manager can’t book in a ‘catch up’ meeting without striking the fear of god into someone then the problems run deep and will not be improved by adding a few words of explanation.”

What do you think about this advice and how do you try to combat anxiety in the workplace? Get involved with the conversation online!

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