A five-point plan for healthy staff meetings

Healthy meetings

There was a time when the off-site awayday was seen as an excuse for a blow-out. Bacon sarnies for breakfast, followed by a liquid lunch, followed by the struggle to stay awake during the final PowerPoint presentation of the day. And then it was back to the pub.

Now, companies are looking at what they can do to improve the wellbeing of their employees, and staff meetings can provide the ideal platform to promote good physical and mental health.

From one-to-ones through to company-wide awaydays, here are five tips to help make your meetings healthier and more productive.


1. A Recipe for Success

From our experience of working with businesses and event planners, we’ve seen an increasing demand for buffet packages that include healthier options.

We now have a range of health-conscious items on our menus from Power Balls to Buddha Bowls.

The danger of eating snacks like crisps, pastries and chocolate, or sandwiches with white bread, is that they provide an instant hit of sugar and carbs. This can result in a mid-afternoon slump which, in turn, could prompt another craving for a sugar fix.

By contrast, fruit, veg and nuts will result in a slower, sustained release of energy, which will allow you to stay focused for longer. And if you’re planning an awayday make sure your team is well hydrated as that will also improve alertness.

2. Shorter is Sweeter

We’ve also seen that schedules for conferences, corporate away days and staff meetings are including in more breaks between sessions which, in turn, are becoming shorter.  Whereas a session used to go on for an hour, it now tends to be 45-minutes max.

Allowing delegate the opportunity to get some fresh air, and maybe a short walk, between talks is not only healthier but will result in a more attentive audience.

3. Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk

Team awaydays can also provide opportunities for informal one-to-ones. Phil Jones is the MD of Brother, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of tech solutions. He is a Fellow of the IoD and he believes that the best way to get the most from those one-to-ones is by turning them into a walking meeting.

He says, “What you get is better solutions and a better overall quality of conversation. So it’s a perfect way to solve problems or come up with new ideas.

“I tend to say, ‘Put your phone in your pocket, we’re going out to walk.’ It means you don’t have those other distractions. It also means you have highly focused, good-quality conversation.”

116 Pall Mall boasts the added benefit of having St James’s Park on its doorstep, which is a great place to have a walking meeting.

4. Healthy Discussions

We usually talk about health purely in physical terms but, increasingly, we are starting to think about it from an emotional and mental perspective. Last year, the IoD launched ‘A Little More Conversation’ – a campaign aimed to encourage businesses to talk about the issues surrounding mental health and work.

In an office environment, frustrations can simmer underneath the surface while everyone is simply getting on with the job. Staff may not be happy about certain issues but allow them to fester and this can have a negative impact on their performance as well as their mental wellbeing.

But, ultimately, employees want to know that their voice is being heard.

A team off-site can be an ideal, and less formal, environment to encourage open discussions that can lead to improvements in morale, wellbeing and productivity when everyone returns back to work.


5. Accentuate the Positive

More companies are organising meetings or workshops around how to create a healthier work environment.

Westfield Health is the IoD’s Health and Wellbeing partner and is a not for profit organisation with a wealth of experience in this area.

When it comes staging an event around the theme of wellbeing, they offer the following advice:

“Moving towards positive desired states can be much more motivational than away from scary health conditions that people don’t always want to discuss.

“You will probably get more interest in running a meeting or event titled ‘How to Build Personal Resilience’ or ‘How to Thrive Under Pressure’ than one called ‘Manage Your Stress Levels’, even if much of the content will focus on the same psychological and physiological areas.”

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Did you know you could hold your meeting, training course or conference at 116 Pall Mall?

Our Business Centre has 15 modern meeting rooms and last year, we launched the IoD Academy – a state-of-the-art training facility on the third floor, providing six additional rooms perfect for corporate hire in the heart of the capital.

To book or for more information, make an enquiry