There was once a time when a business meeting would last from 8am until 5pm. There’d be a short break at 11am for tea and biscuits, then a half hour lunch at 12:30pm.
Lunch was ham and cheese sandwiches cut into triangles. No exceptions. No time to leave the premises unless it’s for a cigarette.
Now, meetings have changed for the better, with healthier foods and engaging workshops to keep the team jazzed for the day.
My name is Aimee Jenkins – I’m the Sales and Marketing Manager of Hunter294, Newcastle’s leading function and events centre. Located inside McDonald Jones’ Stadium, we’re famous for our incredible views of the football field – the red and blue seats just scream “Newcastle”.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed some changes and emerging trends for the modern meeting.
In this article, we explore some of the top trends for corporate meetings, from menus to unconventional breaks and activities.
No matter your industry, no matter your business – you might recognise some of the signs, or you may learn something to implement at your next corporate meeting!
- Vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free menus are becoming more popular
Australia has the third-fastest growing vegan and gluten-free population worldwide. Right now, there are around 2.1 million Australian vegans and according to the CSIRO Healthy Diet Score, twelve per cent of all Australians are gluten-free.
With one in three Australians ditching meat, dairy or gluten, there’s no wonder the modern meeting requires a diverse and inclusive menu!
At Hunter294, we’ve noticed a major shift towards vegan and gluten-free foods over the past few years. Our chefs have adapted the menu to suit a range of diets and allergies, so no one goes without a delicious, nutritious meal.
For example, our kitchen has moved away from wheat-based flours, replacing them with gluten-free alternative, so many of our main meals and hot buffet dishes are suitable for the changing needs of our clients.
- People aren’t afraid to ask for what they want
Want to arrive at the meeting in a helicopter?
Need an intricate throne coated in gold leaf to show the team who’s boss?
You want it? You’ve got it.
The modern meeting has no boundaries and no limits – our team can vouch for this.
On one occasion, the team had to lift a piece of electrical equipment which weighed several hundred kilograms and transport it through the service elevator. It took six people to move the equipment into place!
On other occasions, Hunter294’s conference room has become home to yoga classes, live food demonstrations, bridal expos, African drumming workshops and Bollywood-themed charity events.
Meetings are no longer strictly suit-and-tie. A meeting can be whatever you want it to be, from a corporate performance update to a fun team building session or, well, an African drumming session!
There are no rules!
- People are heading into the great outdoors for their break
There’s nothing worse than being stuck at a boardroom table all day.
As our population strives to be healthier with vegan and gluten-free diets, we’re also spending more time in the great outdoors – after a long morning of crunching numbers, more and more businesses are heading outside for some fresh air.
To keep up with healthy lifestyles, we offer outdoor balcony spaces and use of the grass area in the stadium, so when the weather is nice, people can spend some time in the sun.
Most people seem content to move between different stations or at least have some more interactive afternoon sessions outside.
- Businesses and employees are travelling interstate for conferences and meetings
Travelling for work is a common occurrence… but if you have team members all over Australia, where is the best place to meet?
Businesses come from all over Australia for conferences and meetings at Hunter294. While most of our visitors are Newcastle based, many come from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide due to their affiliation with local businesses and branches.
Most meetings come to us because we’re in a central location and people need an offsite space to bring people together from across the city or region.
We’ve had private six-to-eight person mentoring groups and workshops of two-hundred plus people with multiple interactive stations around the grounds.
- The modern meeting can be anything you want it to be – so get creative
If there’s anything to learn from the unconventional meetings at Hunter294, it’s to be creative with business meetings and keep the team engaged.
Whether it’s frequent breaks out in the sunshine, healthy and exciting foods, or even an interactive workshop with drumming and food demonstrations, the modern meeting can be whatever you want it to be.
Forget drooping eyelids and loss of concentration. It’s time to revamp the traditional meeting and make it something your employees will look forward to.