Meetings are important for exchanging information and ideas, but when meetings are held in the workplace they can become simply part of the daily grind. If workers are not engaged at meetings, or don’t feel free to share their points of view, the entire point of having a meeting can become obscured. Changing the meeting location creates a break from the workday, showing that the topic is important enough to devote time to. Get creativity flowing, re-energize and engage workers by having the meeting in a new location.
The Cafe Down the Street
A cafe is a perfect place for a meeting. Usually, restaurants and cafes have a better ambiance than an office. If a large group will be attending, simply call ahead and ask the management when is the best time for them. The shop will be pleased to have a large group during hours that are usually slow, and you will have peace and privacy for the cost of a few lattes. A cafe is best for shorter or creative meetings, with a relaxed atmosphere and tables for doing work.
The Country Club Golf Course
If, however, tables or workspace are unneeded, a golf day may be the best way to hammer out the details of a new policy or brainstorm new ideas. American Golf is a business tradition for a reason, and having the course book tee times mid-day during the work week serves to impress upon all players the importance of the topic. Booking a golf day tells participants that their input to the decision at hand is more important than their day to day jobs. Setting everything aside for a day to concentrate on brainstorming in a relaxed sports situation both highlights the importance of the meeting and also keeps tension down.
Most office complexes sport at least one outdoor space for lunch or simple relaxation. A quick outdoor meeting can get ideas and input faster than the same meeting indoors. Changing the location and simply moving outside of the work zone energizes participants and will likely result in a better meeting even if the group only moves ten feet away from their building.
Lunch and dinner meetings are a staple of client wooing- but why not woo regular workers as well? Many businesses cater meetings and conferences, so why not simply hold the meeting on site at the restaurant. As with cafes, restaurants will be happy to host even a large party if given advanced notice. Most will offer the same catering menu that is available for delivery, so there is no need to worry about the prices creeping up.
Bagels and Breakfast
Breakfast is also often catered or simply put in the break room at many offices. In-office breakfast meetings are not uncommon, but they usually consist of several sleepy workers drinking coffee and trying to energize enough to even start the meeting. Or, even worse, a group of people simply letting the leader talk the entire time and trying not to sleep. The most effective way to mix it up and engage workers is to tell them to report to a local breakfast spot instead of the office. Though the work day is not really shortened, it creates a “skipping school” feeling which makes people happy.
Every minute not spent in the office can increase productivity and worker happiness. So take meetings out of the office and make them something to be happy about.