10 Meetings to Take Outside the Office

Whether you eagerly anticipate quality face-time with your workplace brethren or avoid calendar invites like the plague, it’s safe to say that for most people, the humble meeting has a bit of an image problem. And for good reason. A poorly executed meeting is not just a waste of time, it can be detrimental to team morale and counter-productive to its stated purpose.

The upper echelons of Silicon Valley have thrown walking meetings at the problem — which are fine for small groups but not ideal for larger ones, not to mention that not every office is situated in a walkable locale (this message coming to you live from Times Square). But they are onto something — namely, stepping outside the office.

We’ve compiled the 10 types of meetings that we think are more successful off-site. Where though? you might ask. Coffee shops, restaurants, and parks are solid options, but there are also dedicated third spaces that you should probably know about (if you don’t already), which offer privacy, amenities, and inspiration as the situation requires.

1. Creative Brainstorms

A 2016 survey revealed that around 65% of respondents said that while they felt more productive while working at their desks, only 36% said that they felt more inspired there. For creativity, the setting is sacrosanct and a change of scene can work miracles. In fact, according to Gensler, innovators are at least twice as likely to have access to, and use, cafeterias, coffee shops, and outdoor spaces to work.

2. Talent Interviews

This is a no-brainer, hiring can be fraught and sometimes the machinations need to stay confidential until a decision is made. Conducting interviews in a private off-site space can benefit all involved.

3. Onboarding New Hires

Congratulations on your new hire! Before throwing them to the wolves on day one, consider a relaxed “welcome aboard!” off-site meeting. The idea is creating an atmosphere for a full and frank discussion to set up a successful working relationship.

4. Cross-Departmental Meetings

You know those cross-functional meetings where you turn up with your laptop and everyone else turns up with their laptops and you all look at your laptops the whole time and the next thing you know it’s time for lunch? Yeh, those are bad. Try a laptop-free gathering in a fresh location and see how many annoying problems get solved, we dare ya.

5. Cross-Company Meetings

Your place or mine? When it comes to B2B meetings, whether scoping out new vendors, merger talks, mentorship, or something else, “neither” is probably the best answer. To get the most out of these meetings, take them off-site so that neither company gets the home-field advantage.

6. One-On-Ones

One-on-ones are important, especially between supervisors and direct reports, and the most important thing you can do to ensure their success is take them seriously. Give your team members undivided access to your attention, experience, and expertise in a space where you won’t be observed or disturbed.

7. Alone Time

There are two types of office workers in this world: those who block off time on their calendars to be left the hell alone and liars. There is an easier way, however; spirit yourself away to a nicely appointed off-site location and have a blissfully quiet and productive work session.

8. Team Bonding

There will always be organizational issues that are out of your hands, but team leaders can take steps to foster a more productive and rewarding environment with off-site meetings that involve trust-building exercises. Go team!

9. Strategy Meetings

The quarterly strategy meeting, when companies reflect, take stock, and recalibrate, all while processing information and issues that can be ambiguous, speculative, and uncomfortable. Fun! It’s not business as usual, so it’s important that your strategy meetings are set apart from your normal meetings.

10. Career Pathing

Whether they’re getting a pat on the back or a kick in the pants, it’s important that employees feel seen by management and have the space (both metaphorically and physically) to talk frankly about their careers and where they’re headed.

If you’re interested in learning more about planning the perfect off-site gathering (and where to host it), get in touch.