Getting out of Officeland

Grouse-Grind-TimerStuck in a meeting rut?

If your meetings are starting to feel like GroundHog Day (a la Bill Murray), it might be time to break out of the office and try something new.

Vancouver offers an endless list of places to get your creative juices flowing, reconnect with team members and break the day-to-day redundancy of office surroundings (which can happen even in the most modern office nests).

And, while Starbucks is always a good stand-by, for us it’s almost become too familiar (an office extension). That’s why we loved these outside-the-office meeting ideas from Social Media Monthly. This list has seen us break new meeting-ground two times this week and left us feeling recharged, re-focused and re-connected.

Oh, and this list is definitely not just for work-at-home professionals.  Stealing away from officeland into fresh surroundings can inject new energy into team thinking and even help repair a strained office relationship. If you’re craving a change of scenery or need a mid-week refresh, you should definitely try one of these no-cost and low-traffic meeting ideas.


10 Meeting Spaces in Vancouver Other than Starbucks

Adapted from Social Media Monthly; Author: Mike Brown, Founder, Brainzooming Group.

1. Hotel Lobbies

Ok, so not a boutique hotel with intimate lobby for two, but any big hotel (especially convention-oriented ones) should offer you lots of prime and open meeting space. Think of  them as “guerilla meetings” – with all the benefits of fireplaces, cozy chairs and the lure of a lobby lounge just a few feet away. We like Hotel Vancouver and the Fairmont Pacific Rim for their ample seating and old world/new world interiors.

2. The Library

Vancouver Public Library was just named the world’s greatest library. If that’s not enough reason to check it out, the central branch offers five meetings rooms that your team can reserve (free-of-charge) with large tables, chairs and electrical outlets. Plus, all the inspiration you’ll ever need, from the world’s foremost thinkers, is right at your fingertips.

3. Grocery Stores

Whole foods is to the grocery store as Hawksworth is to McDonalds – leagues apart. Sometimes it’s hard to get a table (and they’re often speckled in quinoa), but all in all, there’s a great community buzz and a premium on fresh. Fair-trade ideas with a friendly colleague in between trips to the breakfast or lunch buffet.

4. Art Gallery or Convention Centre

Social Media Monthly notes that art galleries and convention centres can be “strong creative meeting space options”. We agree. And while the Vancouver Art Gallery doesn’t have much in terms of lobby space, for the price of a tea or coffee there is almost no better place to linger over big issues than the large al fresco patio of the Gallery Cafe. As for convention centres, one of the best meetings I had in the past year took place under the over-sized, glowing earth model hanging from the (green) roof of the Vancouver Convention Centre.

5. The Great Outdoors

Who didn’t love outdoor school? Relive the wonder-filled freedom of field trips and get outside.  Your options here are endless – it’s what makes Vancouver so special. From the ski lift to the trail, or even down to English Bay, whatever kind of inspiration you need, you’ll find. You can choose one all-out adventure or even hit two hotspots in the same-day. A morning ski on Mount Seymour followed by an afternoon on the beach in Deep Cove sounds just about right to us.

Where do you run to escape the meeting-room doldrums? If you make a point to meet outside of the office, what are some of your favourite spots? Coffee Shop? Micro Brewery? Grouse Grind? Leave us a comment and share your favourite Vancouver hot spots for an out-of-office refresh.