Conferences on Weekends? Good or Bad Idea? Summary of responses to query ..

Lots of fascinating and very useful response to a question I asked yesterday about conferences on weekends.  When I wrote the post I had a personal point of view – that conferences on weekends were bad.  But I knew I had heard many others argue that it was better for some people to have them on weekends and I thought it might be good to hear what people thought.

So I made a Storify of the responses so far.

I also got some good responses on Facebook.

Some of the themes so far are discussed below:

Many factors come into play including

  • Job type
  • Financial status
  • Having children and the children’s ages
  • Having partners 
  • Partner’s work commitments
  • Distance from meeting
  • Duration of meeting
  • Quality of the conference

Weekends can be BAD for some people if

  • They try to save weekends for family or general life (as in, not work) activities
  • They have children and children are young, seems like many find it harder or less desirable to go away on weekends
  • They get assistance with childcare during the week (e.g., daycare) but not on weekend so then partners have harder time alone on weekend
  • They are in a long-distance relationship weekends may be only chance to see partner

Weekends can be GOOD for some people if

  • They just cannot get away at all during the week 
    • maybe due to clinical commitments 
    • maybe due to heavy teaching loads
  • When they leave their partner(s) take care of family commitments and if partners work during the week, they may be better able to deal with weekends without a partner
  • Even if partners do not work, taking care of family alone during week may be harder than on weekends

Suggestions for how to deal with the challenges of conferences

  • Move the location around so that people are affected differently each time (e.g., travel time can add to the challenges for meetings so if you move the meeting travel time will not always affect people from the same places in the same way)
  • Move the weekend/weekday aspect of the meeting 
  • Make meetings as family friendly as possible (this seems to be true if on weekend or not)
  • Make meetings short
  • Conference participation needs to be optional 
  • Have meeting stat bridge weekdays and weekends and allow registration just for one part
  • Live stream conferences so people can participate remotely
  • Record and post videos 
  • Live Tweet and use other social media to allow people to participate remotely
More comments and thoughts would be welcome and thanks so much to the comments so far.

UPDATE 1:
I will repost the request during the week so that I sample thoughts from people who are not answering questions on weekends.  Doh. Thanks to Fiona Brinkman for pointing this sampling bias out to me.

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About Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

2 thoughts on “Conferences on Weekends? Good or Bad Idea? Summary of responses to query ..

  1. Great question and answers. Just a note that live streaming / live tweeting is not a panacea for those with young children. When I'm taking care of them, I cannot participate in a conference/meeting in person OR remotely. Recording presentations for later viewing is better, though obviates the interactive part.

    Like

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