- Uber has scheduled two “no-meeting” days this summer.
- “We know it can be tiring to have back-to-back meetings,” the company’s HR chief wrote in an email.
- The move comes as workers are spending more time in meetings.
Uber has designated two Mondays this summer as meeting-free, chief people officer Nikki Krishnamurthy said in a company-wide June 24 email. Insider viewed a copy of the message.
The ride-hailing and delivery firm scheduled the first “no meeting” day for July 12 and the second for August 9. “We know it can be tiring to have back-to-back meetings with no time to focus,” Krishnamurthy wrote.
Uber chose two Mondays because they “often feel like our most intense days,” Krishnamurthy wrote. “We thought it’d be a good opportunity to allow everyone to have focus time.” She said she didn’t consider Fridays because they’re a weekend day in some Middle Eastern countries.
Krishnamurthy acknowledged that “essential” meetings might still occur on July 12 or August 9, but discouraged employees from scheduling meetings on those days if possible. “You’ll see a block appearing on your calendars soon and encourage you to reschedule any meetings to other days,” she wrote.
An Uber spokesperson said the company had no further context it wanted to provide when contacted by Insider before this story was published.
Uber’s move comes as workers across industries are spending more time in meetings. Microsoft said in March that users of its Teams software spent more than twice as much time in meetings in February 2021 compared to February 2020. During that period, the average meeting time increased from 35 minutes to 45 minutes. Another Microsoft study from this year indicated that consecutive meetings can increase workers’ stress and limit their ability to focus. Facebook and Asana have designated Wednesdays as no-meeting days.
Four days after Krishnamurthy sent her June 24 email, Insider reported that Uber had revised its return-to-office plan after its initial policy drew backlash from employees. Krishnamurthy said in April that employees would have to spend three days a week in the office beginning in September, a decision she said was consistent with employee preferences.
Uber later reduced its in-office requirement to 50% of work days. Uber employees will be able to work at one of a number of office “hubs” when they’re not at home, and for one month of each year will be able to work anywhere. Some employees will also have the opportunity to apply for an exemption from the requirement to work in the office.
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