Finding innovative ways to meet
There has been a shift towards finding innovative ways to meet and train, away from the more traditional office-based only meetings and more businesses are trialling holding meetings or conducting training outside. Whilst using outdoor spaces is far from a new concept, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have had to shift from their usual office-based meeting space due to the difficulty surrounding ensuring social distancing and strict government protocols. This has led to the widely recognised ‘outdoor meeting’ and studies show that this could actually be hugely beneficial for many reasons, including social health, enhanced creativity, productivity and intelligence from workers simply from being outdoors in a new environment to the standard office space.
There is also compelling evidence that highlights the benefits of being outside. For instance, 20 minutes of fresh air can make people feel more energised and alive – with or without exercise. In addition to this, evidence suggests that outdoor meetings could improve communication between colleagues, perhaps due to the casual of the environment. It’s also said to be more social and thus can develop relationships within the workplace that could lead to better teamwork and better relationships.
With copious evidence demonstrating the benefits of outdoor meetings, it may pose the question of why this was never incorporated into day-to-day office routines pre COVID-19. Especially in the UK, the weather has to play a big part in why people tend to stay indoors. However, between the months of April – August at least, there should be and could be many opportunities for outdoor/walking meetings. Having a backup plan in case the weather takes a turn would allow individuals to feel more relaxed towards arranging an outdoor meeting as there wouldn’t be the fear of having to cancel or rearrange. Organising in advance would also allow individuals to bring appropriate clothing and therefore be more inclined to agree to an outdoor meeting space.
There is also the belief that individuals would be less distracted if outdoor meeting were incorporated into office life, as the usual checking of emails / phone calls would be less likely to happen. It may seem counterintuitive, but outdoor meetings spaces also have fewer interruptions, and it would remove the worry about overrunning into another booked slot.
As with many things, COVID-19 has turned our previous notions of “normal” completely on their heads, and the idea of being back to normality still seems like a lifetime away in some respects. Therefore, we should benefit from these changes, find a positive in a negative situation and continue to develop innovative learning within the business.