Meetings held in unique locations, away from the familiarity of company conference rooms and the constant call of duties from our desks, can boost a team’s creativity almost instantly. But you shouldn’t rely solely on the magic of moving important discussions to a creative location to ensure your team does its best work. Build on the momentum you’ll gain naturally in an offsite location by preparing a few key things ahead of time, anticipating a few others, and wrapping up with a few more.
First, choose a creative location. Unless you work in a radically unique building, part of the excitement generated from meeting offsite is the uniqueness of the location. So if you’re going to gather your team somewhere other than the office, why choose a place that looks exactly like the office you see each other in every day? Instead, find a location that is very different than where you usually meet, somewhere that has visual interest and provides opportunity to move or gather around the room in a different way than you team is used to.
Check out the website, but don’t rely entirely on the images—go see the location for yourself. A lot can be revealed when you see a place in person; you may find that there are aspects of the location that just won’t work, or you could find that it’s even better than you had expected.
Consider the costs of holding your meeting offsite. Unless you’ve been given a limitless budget (and when does that ever happen?) you’ll want to know what the final bill will be before you sign any paperwork. A simple, transparent billing system can prevent unpleasant surprises weeks after the meeting when you receive the final bill.
Think about equipment and Internet access. Work with the site coordinators to figure out what equipment they can provide and what you’ll need to bring. Will participants need—and have—Internet access? Double check that they’ll have what you need on hand, even something as straightforward as pens, and then make a list of the equipment that you’ll need to bring along.
Do a little advance, in-house marketing about your offsite meeting. Send out an agenda beforehand so participants can bring what they need in order to participate fully. Include information about how to get there, about how much travel time they can expect, and what you hope to accomplish. If you want anyone to bring anything outside the ordinary (silly hats, baby pictures, their own lunch) make that clear well in advance.
Hosting an offsite meeting couldn’t be easier than at Blue Ocean. Not only do we offer creative, visually interesting spaces for your team to meet, we always have a Room Coordinator on hand to help with whatever you need. Give us a call today to set up a tour or to let us answer any questions you have.