Keeping people waiting on you to join calls and video conference can create a poor work culture says Elena Paraskevas-Thadani (She/Her)

Starting your meetings on time can help you build a more inclusive environment, now more than ever.

When the office workplace was the norm, sitting and waiting in someone’s office, or outside their office, while their previous meeting “ran over” was a pet peeve. But there was some comfort in the ability the person waiting had to make themselves known with a polite “ahem” or by popping their head in. If that didn’t work, they chatted with people who sat in the area or who were passing in the hall. Now in the virtual era, people often sit and wait for their zoom, webex or video meetings to start. They are staring at an empty screen in a virtual waiting room. There is no way to say “ahem.” No way to pop one’s head in, or chat with others who may also be waiting for the same meeting. It’s a total time void.

And yes, meetings run over sometimes. But this cannot be your norm. If you find that your meetings are constantly running over, this means you are constantly keeping people waiting. And if the same person(s) are always waiting, you have built a culture of exclusion, where your time is rationed to some more favorably than others. Time is precious and how one spends it shapes who they are and how they feel. Don’t let your teammates wait for you all the time.