A WELL-BEING BOOST: SCHEDULE TIME FOR OUTDOOR ACTIVITY & FRESH AIR
The task of collating and scheduling your event’s activities, meetings, and meals to form a coherent event agenda is certainly difficult. Saying that, we make no apologies for suggesting yet another factor to be included in your event mix. Event planners often try to cram as much action into a finite amount of time as possible, but allowing your guests the opportunity to step outside of the meeting space and experience the outdoors, will be advantageous to your event goals. “Nature offers one of the most reliable boosts to your mental and physical well-being”, with research affirming nature’s ability to reduce stress, restore mental energy, and improve concentration.
Refresh your team’s focus
Such outdoor time can be in the form of a formal activity (e.g. team building session), or flexible free time for guests. Pairing outdoor time with a structured team activity such as the Seglympics, or a scavenger-style Amazing Race, will strengthen your team whilst refreshing its focus. If you organise an activity that aligns with the core purpose for your conference (e.g. training and development summit, to upskill the group), your time outside will become an invaluable element of your event.
Don’t overlook unstructured downtime
Unstructured downtime is also vital for attendees, as conferences are often mentally and emotionally exhausting. ‘If you are worn out and frayed, you will not be at your best’, therefore jeopardising your potential for development and networking at the conference. Such free time could come about by finishing meetings for the day around mid-afternoon, and providing guests the chance to get out whilst the sun is still shining. Something as simple as a walk in the park may "soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve our mental health”, thus heightening the mental state of your guests during your event. Such time-out in the afternoon could be accommodated by starting meetings a little earlier each morning, or by running a less formal session post-dinner.
allow guests to Explore the location
Organisers should remember that their guests are often not local to the event venue, and have often travelled great distances to be in attendance. Interstate or international guests have likely commuted directly from the airport to the event venue, and will miss the opportunity to explore this foreign location if there is no flexibility with the schedule. Their impression of the experience will be more favourable if you allow them the time to explore, rather than keeping them locked up in the meeting space for the event’s duration.
‘Getting out into natural environments is an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers’, hence why a venture outdoors is an inexpensive but invaluable tool to help fuel your guests. If you are unsure of how to best shuffle your event agenda to include outdoor time, speak to your venue’s event coordinator. They are one of the best resources that you will call upon during your planning, as their expertise and experience will help you achieve a successful conference.