The Benefits of Offsite Work Meetings
In a whitepaper prepared for Verizon, INFOCOM reported that business managers attend an average of 61.8 meetings per month, including 12.2 meetings that require travel, audio conferences, video conferences and 49.6 in-house or local face-to-face meetings. The research also revealed that 46 percent of the professionals polled claimed they attend more meetings today than they did just one year ago. According to the National Statistics Council, employees spend around 37 percent of their time on the clock in business meetings.
While meetings are commonplace in many businesses, they are not always the best use of an employee’s time. Approximately 91 percent of meeting attendees have spent time daydreaming during a meeting and nearly 40 percent have actually dozed off while attending a meeting. More than 70 percent of meeting participants admit to bringing other, unrelated work to a meeting.
In their book, “Better Business Meetings,” Robert Nelson and Peter J. Economy suggest that more than 50 percent of the time employees spend in meetings is wasteful. This means that of the nearly 62 meetings an average business manager attends each month, more than 30 of them are a waste of time.
In the United States, businesses hold approximately 11 million business meetings every day. With anywhere from 25-50 percent of them being a waste of time, this means that businesses are throwing away a combined total of around $37 billion on unproductive meetings annually. While the cost of pointless meetings is staggering, meetings take more than just a toll on a company’s finances. Excessive meetings also affect their employees moral and work ethic. Researchers discovered that the more meetings an employee attended, the more tired the person felt and the bigger the individual considered his or her workload to be.
While some meetings may not yield results, INFOCOM’s research revealed that 92 percent of people who attend meetings value them because they give employees the chance to contribute while 66 percent of meeting attendees feel that meetings give them the opportunity to be recognized. This indicates that successful meetings might be a factor that positively influences the level of satisfaction your employees have with their roles within your company.
The company’s research also showed there is a very strong relationship between the amount of time spent preparing for a meeting and the level of productivity the meeting ultimately achieves. When at least 53 minutes were spent preparing materials and an agenda, the productivity of a meeting was considered high whereas the productivity of meetings for which only 26 minutes were spent on these tasks was low by comparison. Preparing an agenda is so relevant to the success of a meeting that 73 percent of survey respondents acknowledge it as being “very important” in a meeting. Administrative jobs, such as distributing materials, do not have a correlation with a meeting’s productivity.
While preparing an agenda is important for your day-to-day meetings to be successful, it is also a critical factor in making offsite work meetings productive. Even though there is no apparent correlation between administrative tasks and the success of an in-house meeting, these actions are also important factors in making an offsite meeting a success. Since offsite meetings generally occur less frequently and bring people together who normally do not interact face-to-face, you need to do everything possible to make your event an effective meeting of the minds.
Benefits of Offsite Work Meetings
From writing an agenda, to picking a venue, to making sure the chairs in a room are positioned just so, everything you do to get ready for an offsite meeting will influence its success. If executed properly, an offsite meeting can yield significant immediate and lasting benefits for your company.
Some possible benefits of an offsite work meeting include the following:
Aligns Employees: When properly designed, an offsite meeting gives your employees a chance engage in meaningful discussions and exchange ideas. These discussions are then turned into actionable steps that your managers can executive when they return to the office. Since everyone has had the opportunity to participate in the creative process that yielded the steps, they have ownership in the work they are overseeing, and their thoughts are aligned with those of other company executives. In other words, a successful offsite meeting gets everyone on the same page.
When a management team is all on the same page, it makes your business stronger, positions your company to react faster to changes in the market and prepares your key executives to make better business decisions.
- Breeds Creativity: Sometimes, getting your staff out of the office is necessary to get them to think outside of the box. Hosting an offsite work meeting is just the thing to jumpstart your employees’ creative thinking. Since they are not sitting in the same room, in the same chair, with the same view of the hallway, they will feel more open and stimulated. A new environment can help them see things in a different light and make creative additions to brainstorming sessions.
Increases Production: Offsite work meetings give your employees and key executives the opportunity to address big-picture projects and problems without dealing with distraction from everyday work duties. Since they can focus on the items included in your agenda exclusively, they will make more progress than they would if you had held your meeting in-house.
Builds Camaraderie: Team-building exercises are a common feature of offsite work meetings. These exercises typically vary greatly from the work your managers normally perform. They give participants the chance to interact with one another on a different level than they do in the office to achieve whatever the goal of the exercise is, whether that is getting a team of coworkers over a wall or completing an aerial zip line course as a group. It also gives them the opportunity to learn about the strengths and weaknesses that their coworkers have which are not evident in their usual work environment. It enables them to bond while having a lot of fun as they work toward a common goal.
Establishes and Reinforces Relationships: Depending on the size of your company, your offsite work meetings might bring together people who work in different areas of the country or in faraway locations around the globe. Even if your executives interact with each other on the phone or in video conferences, they still have a lot to learn about each other.
Nonverbal communication includes hand gestures, facial expressions and posture and is responsible for up to 93 percent of the verbal message you are trying to deliver. By bringing your managers together for a face-to-face meeting, they have the chance to truly get to know one another and pick up on the nonverbal cues often missed in conversations conducted on the phone or through digital channels. This gives them the chance to establish or reinforce relationships and remain aligned with each other and your company’s objectives.
Increases Available Amenities: Depending on the venue you choose, you may have access to technology and presentation tools you do not have at your office. These additional presentation amenities can enable you and others speaking during the course of your event to give more creative, engaging presentations. The more engaging a presentation is, the more meeting attendees will get out of it. Making use of the technology and tools at your host site to deliver information can help increase the overall productivity of your offsite work meeting.
Improves Regular Meetings: Even though offsite work meetings differ from daily meetings in several key ways, a successful offsite work meeting can serve as a blueprint for improving the regular meetings hosted in your office. While it may not be feasible to take your team to a different location every time you schedule an office meeting, you can rent state-of-the-art equipment to deliver an engaging presentation, hold your meeting in a conference room on another floor or plan a group activity intended to unite your team behind a common goal, for instance.
Planning a Productive Offsite Work Meeting
The work you put into an offsite meeting before it takes place is the biggest determining factor in how successful your event will be. One of the most important things you need to do well in advance of your offsite meeting is pick the appropriate location.
Selecting the right venue is critical to making your event a success. You have to pick a site that will support the theme of your event and your meeting’s objectives. The venue you choose must be able to provide the services you need to execute your event such as transportation, catering and entertainment as well. The site must also have amenities your meeting’s attendees will enjoy individually. It should have conveniences your attendees will want to take advantage of as a group, too. This will give your executives a chance to build camaraderie doing things together that do not involve work.
In addition to selecting the right location for your offsite work meeting, you should do the following to make your event a productive one:
Identify Objectives: In order to plan an effective offsite work meeting, you have to identify what you want to achieve during the meeting. Once you know your goals, it will make it easier for you to choose an appropriate location and take care of everything else you need to do to get ready for your event. If you are having difficulty identifying specific objectives, you can take an anonymous poll of your key executives to see what they think the most important issues facing your company are.
If you decide to conduct a survey of your employees, make sure you quantify their points before you discuss them in your offsite work meeting. Presenting opinions as data will enable you and your meeting’s attendees to discuss pressing issues dispassionately without making the conversation personal.
Decide on Attendees: Once you identify your meeting’s objectives, you can then decide who should attend your event. As a general rule, meetings centered around broad topics typically benefit from large numbers of attendees. If your meeting is going to involve making specific decisions, it is typically advisable to invite as few people as possible. If you are going to invite an expert to your event, make sure the person’s expertise relates directly to the objectives or problem the meeting will tackle.
Create an Agenda: Preparing an agenda is somewhat similar to mapping out your event, so that the outcomes will lead to where you want your company to be in the immediate and long-terms. Your agenda should be structured and include a progression of topics or activities that build upon one another. It needs to have a timeline that is strict enough to accomplish everything you want to achieve during the meeting, but flexible enough to allow for a thorough exchange of ideas regarding every topic that needs to be addressed.
Remember to build some leisure time into your agenda every. Attendees may become frustrated if they do not have time to take advantage of some of the fun things available at the location of your meeting, which can negatively impact the overall success of your event.
- Prepare Fact Books: Instead of overwhelming your meeting’s attendees with reading material, put together a fact book that includes the information they will need to be familiar with to participate in the meeting. Highlight the materials that will be the basis for focused discussions, so they will not be accidentally overlooked. Send a fact book to everyone who will attend your offsite work meeting several weeks before the meeting to ensure they will have enough time to review it thoroughly.
Follow-Up: Even before your meeting starts, you need to have a mechanism in place to follow-up with the people who attend your event. At the end of your offsite meeting, different responsibilities will be assigned to various people and departments to achieve certain goals discussed in your meeting. You have to determine how you will follow-up with these people to ensure they achieve their individual and departmental goals on time and within budget.
Part of being prepared to follow up with your meeting’s attendees is capturing your event’s business outcomes and developing an implementation plan before your event even begins. While you cannot know what these outcomes or the exact plan to implement initiatives will be beforehand, you can determine how you will get the necessary information documented and dispensed prior to your meeting.
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino: The Perfect Venue for Your Offsite Work Meetings
If you are looking for the perfect venue for your next offsite work meeting, we encourage you to visit Delaware’s leading luxury casino hotel, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Our corporate meeting rooms range from a 14-seat, elegantly decorated boardroom to a multi-use space that can accommodate up to 1,500 people.
Our team of dedicated planning managers can help you plan a successful offsite work meeting. Whether you choose to take advantage of our meeting packages or you want to plan a customized event tailored specifically to the tastes of your company’s executives, we will help you plan a gathering that meets your exact specifications.
We have state-of-the-art equipment onsite so your presentations can be as technical as they need to be to make key points unforgettable. With so many resources at our disposal, we have the flexibility to adjust as your plans change, whether they change weeks before your event or just moments before your meeting is scheduled to begin.
Our breathtaking property includes amenities your attendees will enjoy during their down time. We have a fitness center, an indoor, heated swimming pool, boutique shopping and a 24-hour business center. If your attendees want to relax, they can enjoy a massage in Toppers Spa/Salon, a Balinese-inspired sanctuary. With over 2,300 slot machines, 41 gaming tables, an 18-table poker room and live sports and off-track betting, our casino is the spot for non-stop action and fun.
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino is the home of 11 restaurants, bars and lounges that offer dining options ranging from deli-style sandwiches to upscale fare. While there is plenty for everyone to do during your stay at our luxurious property, we are located near some exciting area attractions you may enjoy visiting during your leisure time, including breweries, wineries, beaches, museums and golf courses.
If you are planning an offsite work meeting, visit Dover Downs Hotel & Casino to see why our gorgeous property is the perfect place for your event. Our goal is to always deliver more than what our clients expect. Contact one of our dedicated meeting planning specialists to learn how we will exceed your expectations today.