You do it every week. Walk down the hall, past the cubicles, into the conference room. You sit at your regular seat at the big boardroom table, open your notes, fish around your bag for a pen, and sit back as your teammates filter in around you. Meetings can be monotonous.
Well, repetition can be good for progress. If the point of the meetings are to carve out time for a team check-in, there’s no better place than right down the hall.
But when you need creative thinking, strategic planning, or the mental energy to tackle big problems, you need to shake it up.
The key to changing your thinking is as simple as changing your location.
There’s a reason billionaires do deals on the golf course! The Human brain was wired to think and move at the same time. Prehistoric humans were always on the move, migrating dozens of miles a day to hunt for food and seek opportunity.
In Brain Rules, 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, Author John Medina says, “If you wanted to create a business environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a cubicle.”
So next time you want to bypass the boardroom, consider these more creative options:
A Pro Sports Stadium
Most games are at night – have you ever wondered what your local stadium is used for the rest of the week? You’d be surprised to find that suites, meeting rooms, even field or court access is available during off-peak hours.
Your local international airport isn’t just for people coming and going. Just outside of security, you can find restaurants, lounges and meeting rooms, and you don’t even need to pack a bag.
One Day Getaway
You could also go to the airport and actually go somewhere! Southwest Airlines often has round-trip fares to nearby cities for under $100, so you can get out-of-the-box and get out of town at the same time.
Coffee Shops & Coworking Spaces
Live like a freelancer or startup, and take your team on a field trip to some of the coolest spots in your city. Check out DesksNear.me to find a space around you, and surround yourself with other remote workers that are collaborating and innovating.
The Best Sports Bars
No one goes to a sports bar in the morning. Well, imagine your Powerpoint on 64 screens. These locations are the perfect rental for meetings during off-peak hours.
A Party Bus
That’s right, party buses aren’t just for bachelorette parties. Why not drive your team around town for a mobile meeting, stop somewhere for lunch, and then head back to the office? Or, if it’s been a good quarter, upgrade to a limo.
A Highrise Penthouse
Want to live like a corporate attorney for a day? Regus offers 3,000 luxury offices around the world, with daily conference room rentals that have some of the nicest views a city can offer. Maybe the inspiration to make millions just takes a million dollar view.
For annual retreats, considering bunkering down in an Airbnb rental, even if it’s just for the day-time. Some hosts will offer discounted rates if you don’t plan to sleep over.
Back to School
When was the last time you visited your local university? They have massive libraries and auditoriums, many available for free public use. The scholarly atmosphere might just provide the boost of brilliance that you’re looking for.
HR might shoot down a meeting where everyone’s in a towel, but how about a group pedicure? Let your team unwind, and the ideas might start flowing.
Climb a Mountain
If your team is athletic, you can get up early and head to the mountains for a hike. Climbing a mountain leaves plenty of time to talk, and regardless of how the conversation goes you’ll feel some sense of accomplishment when you reach the top.
On a Boat!
If you live near an ocean or lake, think about renting out a pontoon for the afternoon. Nothing says start-up like trying to stay above water.
The simplest solution might be in your own backyard. If your office has an atrium or a courtyard, try taking the team there. Untethered from a laptop, with some natural light, you’ll already feel a little different.
Meetings don’t have to be monotonous! For your next meeting, get out of the office and you might just get more out of the meeting.