The traditional workplace has been undergoing a major overhaul for the last few years. Cubicles and dusty grey carpeting are being tossed from third story windows and standing desks and hanging chairs are being installed in their place. American Express’s Global Meetings Forecast has shown increases in the demand for non-traditional meeting venues for the last few years, and meeting and event venues are doing everything they can to keep up with the latest trends. Although the data is clear, there’s still the question of why these companies are moving their meetings to creative off-site locations. What is it exactly that’s driving this trend? Spacebase, a leader in online-booking for creative meeting rooms, spoke to a few of the world’s top meeting and event planners to track the trend and its origins.
Search for Inspiration
It’s widely known that a person’s mood is influenced by their surroundings; when walking around a museum, deep thoughts, ideas and questions flow freely through your head. It’s only natural that creatively designed spaces would inspire creativity and spread that energy to meeting-goers. Corporations and industry leaders have searched endlessly for ways to motivate creativity and productivity in their meetings when all along, the solution was as simple as booking more stimulating and creatively-styled meeting rooms. A room with pops of vibrant color and art lining the walls will put employees in a creative mindset immediately upon entering. Asymmetrical shelves, unfamiliar plants and other interesting design accessories make people feel curious and inquisitive, the perfect combination to facilitate outside-of-the-box thinking. Creative environments can also act as a refresher for employees, providing an unexplored space to rethink old problems or ideas from a new perspective.
A creative meeting-loving Project Manager from Google said, “Unique
spaces are perfect for creative workshops that really challenge the status quo.” He also reported that he and his colleagues came upon ideas much more easily working off-site without the distractions of office responsibilities and side projects. It can be much easier to focus on the meeting’s objective at a creatively-stimulating off-site venue, where hindrances are out of sight, out of mind, and out of the creative process.
Need for Easier Collaboration
Every boss knows it can sometimes be hard to get coworkers to work together peacefully and productively. Issues and rivalries from the office can be carried into the meeting, which isn’t very far to carry them if you’re using your company’s stale-smelling conference room just a few feet away from the desks. Workshop and meeting spaces with open and changeable layouts facilitate natural, easy collaboration between colleagues, yielding results and solutions that may have been unexplored before.
The coworking trend has completely shaken up the traditional office and offers a completely fresh technique of encouraging collaboration. Many companies are now updating their workspaces with the same open layouts and differently-styled work areas seen in coworking
offices due to their success with teamwork. Many coworking spaces have bookable meeting rooms within them, and although they’re separated from the communal hot-desk room, your meeting can still reap the benefits of coworking. While it’s true that private and quiet space is necessary for team meetings, using a meeting room in a coworking space can also be beneficial. According to The Farm SoHo Coworking, these types of spaces are optimized for natural collaboration.
“You get the chance to meet like-minded individuals in a friendly atmosphere,” said a representative from The Farm. “You can exchange ideas over a cup of coffee and could find yourself forming longstanding collaborations to help your business. It’s not just about working in a shared environment - it’s about sharing your ideas with a community to build a better business and way of working.”
The Sharing Economy Take-Over
Thanks to Lyft and Uber, taxi cabs are slowly going extinct. Unfortunately for more traditional, stuffy meeting rooms, they’re headed the same way. The past decade has seen an incredible boom in the person-to-person sharing of goods and services, also known as the sharing economy, with companies like AirBnB and Uber speeding up to the competition in their respective industries. The sharing economy has been busy replacing less efficient and more expensive industries with faster, easier and cheaper options offered by people as opposed to companies. The meeting industry is by no means immune to this economic shift; many of the creative meeting spaces seen popping up on the market are privately owned. These previously unlisted, completely undiscovered spaces are a major part of the movement towards creative meetings. With no corporate bosses or restrictions, the rooms are designed uniquely according to each space owner’s creative vision.
In addition to the increased originality of meeting rooms, the sharing economy has also been making these unusual meeting spaces cheaper than traditional venues. Start-up companies as well as mega-corporations have been enjoying the newfound dip in meeting room prices (and the simultaneous improvements to quality and style). Spacebase, a website hosting over 2,000 creative meeting spaces and workshop rooms, offers the coolest and most competitively priced rooms to clients.
“We’ve used Spacebase to find unusual meeting spaces in locations that are unfamiliar to us,” said a meeting planner from The Farm SoHo Coworking. “We’re always impressed - not just by the spaces but by the price too, which beats the competition.”
It’s clear why creative meeting spaces are growing in popularity; they produce more original work, increase productivity, encourage collaboration amongst colleagues and last but not least, are friendlier on your pocket. The trend is in full swing in New York City and you can check out some of the best venues the city has to offer here.