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Regus Survey Finds Places Where There is ‘Never a Dull Meeting’

September 2, 2013 MICE No Comments Email Email

Although it is rare nowadays to step into a coffee shop without seeing at least one meeting in full swing, flexible working for some Indonesian executives can be more of an intrepid experience.

Hotel-de-la Paix -Luang -Prabang In a new survey, they have revealed that they are all but traditional in their choice of meeting location. More than 26,000 respondents from over 90 countries were asked the strangest place where they had ever had a business meeting, with the oddest venues including a convent, an old railway tunnel, a nursery and a maggot farm.

Some of the more unusual venues reported in Indonesia were an electrical cupboard, a canopy platform 70m up a tree, a crane and a playground. More common grab-a-meeting venues seem to be cars, coffee shops and hotel rooms, while planes and airports are also popular choices reflecting the international nature of business today.

On the upside, swimming pools and bars feature, showing that business meetings aren’t always such hard work.

– Top 10 Strangest Meeting Places Globally –

1. In the bath
2. At a cycling event
3. In a cave
4. A rubbish dump
5. At a wedding banquet
6. On a sleigh during a sleigh ride
7. A Brussels sprout field
8. On a Navy warship
9. In a shed
10. In an office pantry

Although peaceful and quiet, it is unlikely that caves will become a hit any time soon! A wedding banquet, however, would be far more palatable.

John Henderson, Regional Director of Regus APAC comments: “The strange places that people find themselves in for business meetings, from bathrooms to abandoned buildings and beaches show just how open-minded and flexible people have become in the business world. The venues revealed in this research may not be to everyone’s liking, and some certainly give pause for thought in terms of safety and professionalism. Luckily for less adventurous professionals, a huge network of professional and productive meeting places is available around the world helping them focus on targets rather than their unusual surroundings.”

In addition, the impact of the increasingly popular flexible working trend in Indonesia is not only affecting the need for a more flexible meeting venue, but also the whole notion of having an office. As firms seek greater employee productivity and engagement, businesses in Indonesia should rethink the office. A fun and sociable workplace can boost motivation and staff retention. Office location is also key, finds Regus.

Companies such as Google have led the way in making the office fun, installing games rooms, giant slides, and help-yourself food and drink. More manageable for most companies is to introduce chill-out areas, on-site cafes and good coffee to boost the employee feel-good factor.

But however enjoyable the atmosphere, employees cannot deliver their best if they’re drained by commuting. The longer people drive to work, the more likely they are to face blood pressure and cardiorespiratory problems.  Those who commute by public transport face delays and rising fares, adding to their time and financial pressures. This has been an established and acknowledged problem in Indonesia, one that is yet to be solved.

The solution is to let people work closer to home, doing their jobs for some or all of the week at nearby business centres or satellite offices, or home, instead of commuting daily to a fixed office.

Research shows that giving employees more choice over where and when they work boost staff wellbeing and retention:

– 64% of Indonesian business people say flexible working practices reduce stress
– 64% of people say flexible working practices are the reason they stay in their current jobs.

Henderson added: “I commend the efforts of businesses to make their workplaces fun. Investing in keeping staff engaged is an investment in business success. But businesses should also think about where their staff work. Arriving at the desk frustrated after a 50-minute commute is a terrible start to the day. Employers who allow staff to work closer to home can transform the energy levels of their workforce. This is the way to enliven work – and family life.”

– 5 ways to make your workplace more fun –

1. Global sporting events such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup are an opportunity to encourage socialising.

2. Informal activities can be virtual as well as face-to-face. If your staff are dispersed, they may not be able to play five-a-side football or karaoke in person, so explore the possibilities for doing so via an app.

3. Think about office design. Not every workplace needs a giant slide, but a cafe area with free tea or coffee, or ping pong, encourages people to mix.

4. Measure performance by output rather than hours at the desk, so people are not forced to stay in the office until after the boss has left.

5. Introduce flexible working practices such as choice over where and when people work. People’s hours at the office are happier if they’re at a time and place that suits the rest of their life.

(1) ‘Long commutes may be harmful to your health’, MedPage Today, May 2012.
(2) Regus, From ‘Distressed to de-stressed’, 2012.
(3) Accenture, ‘The path forward’, 2012.

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