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Thursday, June 24, 2021

The death of the ‘bored-room’

Looking to jazz up those daily ‘briefings’ or weekly ‘catch-ups’ (see also: meetings)?

If you Google ‘unique meeting ideas’, you’ll be met with a range of suggestions, from the usual – keep meetings under 15 minutes, hold ‘stand-up’ meetings, give each person a chance to lead – to the more extreme: have the person who unnecessarily prolongs a meeting ‘drop and give you 20’ (terrifying), donate to charity every time a meeting is interrupted (less terrifying) or have the team do some exercise together before getting down to business (again, terrifying).

Meetings are fast becoming a contentious issue in the workplace – the debate over their efficiency has spawned many an internet think-piece – and organisations are rapidly trying to increase employee engagement in meetings, thereby increasing productivity and overall work satisfaction.

The Canberra Weekly editorial team took the chance to try out consulting firm Synergy Group’s latest meeting disruptor: the ‘Another Meeting’ VW Kombi van. Synergy’s own national client research found that ACT office workers are among the most likely in the country to view meetings as a negative, with public servants the most likely group to criticise meetings, describing them as “boring”, a “waste of time” and “unproductive”.

The van, a restored Kombi complete with a coffee machine and a beer tap, can be booked by any Synergy employee for their meetings across Canberra, with consultants in a range of offices across the city, including a host of Federal Government departments.

“As office workers, most of us spend countless hours stuck in the ‘bored-room’ – and as a result, meetings can be unproductive and often kill creativity,” says Synergy’s Creative Director, Jason Perelson.

“By simply approaching meetings in a different way, we’re able to engage with our clients and staff more collaboratively and more creatively. This, in turn, leads to better working relationships.”

He says meetings should be a space for engagement, collaboration and sharing, the most creative part of the day, but are currently viewed as something “dull and unproductive”.

“Another Meeting provides a fresh alternative that allows people to experience work in a much more engaging way.”

Something as simple as a meeting location swap can make a difference, and was a positive experience for the Canberra Weekly team. Getting out into the fresh air was a pleasant change from our usual boardroom meetings, and it was certainly better than being made to ‘drop and give you 20’.

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