This top ecommerce firm wants to end big meetings for good

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Shopify wants employees to stay out of and stop encouraging large recurring meetings, with the ecommerce platform wiping all of them from employee calendars as part of a “purge”.

As reported by Bloomberg (opens in new tab), the move by Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke accompanied new rules requiring that no meetings be held on Wednesdays, and that meetings larger than 50 people only take place within a six-hour window on Thursdays. 

The move to reduce time spent in meetings, similar to those taken recently at Meta, Clorox, Twilio, Slack and Asana is likely a bid to increase productivity across the company, after, according to Bloomberg, it spent 2022 cutting costs.

Shopify’s meeting purge

Shopify seems to be tackling a perceived decrease in productivity at the source, with Lutke claiming that participation in large meetings and internal chat groups maintains “the status quo”.

Kaz Nejatian, Shopify’s Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Product, told Forbes (opens in new tab) that “the most important resource we have is the time of individual contributors. Companies are built improperly around the time of the manager rather than the doer.”

Nejatian also discussed ‘forcing change’ within the company, which it aims to do via automation, using a bot to remind meeting organizers of the new policies.

The move comes as tech companies across the board are adopting similar policies in order to claw back time on the calendar, all coming up with their own term for the phenomenon of time perceived as wasted in meetings taking away from take that could be spent performing meaningful work. 

Slack executives reportedly call it “calendar bankruptcy”, while Asana has run its own “meeting doomsday” experiment to clear calendars in the past. Like Shopify, it directed employees to be “judicious” about regular meetings added back to the calendar.

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