Time to turf out boring meetings?

One hotel chain wants to improve our creativity - by putting grass on its meeting room floors....

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Summer is (supposed to be) here, and though we may all yearn to escape to the countryside and feel the dewy grass between our toes, the best most of us can manage is an M&S sandwich on a bit of scrub near the office. Hotel chain Crowne Plaza, though, has decided to bring the pasture to the office – by carpeting some of its conference rooms with turf. It might not be the meadowy tranquillity we all long for – but the theory is that it could re-invigorate our flagging creativity. And on the bright side, the risk of treading in a cowpat is significantly reduced...

According to ‘Walk on the Grass’ author Angela Whitlock, ‘by the age of 25, 98% of our creativity has gone’ (though precisely how this depressing statistic was arrived at remains a mystery). So the idea behind these meeting rooms is to stimulate creativity; apparently, grass was chosen because it reminds guests of their childhood and ‘therefore frees them of societal barriers that restrict creativity’. Although presumably this can go too far – after all, you don’t want your meeting degenerating into handstand competitions and British Bulldogs.

Unashamed marketing gimmick/ PR stunt though it may be, here at MT we’re all for anything that makes long and boring meetings a bit less… well, long and boring. According to Crowne Plaza, 40% of meeting attendees start to lose their concentration after 20 minutes (really? that long?). And there’s plenty of research to suggest that a surfeit of meetings hinders productivity, stifles creativity and generally contributes to overall employee misery.

OK, so creating an indoor meadow may be slightly beyond the means of most small businesses – but there are plenty of things you can do to make the environment more conducive (even a box of doughnuts in the middle of the table works wonders for us).

As for Crowne Plaza, we’re intrigued to see what they’ll try next to liven up their meeting rooms. Sand, sun-loungers and Speedos, perhaps?

In today's bulletin:
Inflation slips back toward 2% target
Unite calls off BAA strikes
General Motors to float, one year after bankruptcy
Small firms need cash incentives to go green, says FSB
Time to turf out boring meetings?

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