By Simon Hunter, head of venues and brand at Stamford Bridge
It’s summer… or so they tell us! Come rain or shine, warm or chilly, we all love being outside. Fresh air is good for us, we know that, and given the amount of time we spend in air-conditioned offices at work and in meetings, we’ve put the work in, to take the meeting outside this summer, and here’s why.
By simply moving your meeting outdoors, creative juices are more likely to flow (blue sky thinking or thought showers aside) as delegates feel refreshed and recharged they are more connected with each other, and the world. But don’t just take our word for it; according to the Institute for Outdoor Learning, a 2005 study on ‘What is outdoor learning’, reported that an outdoor environment increases stimulation and creates new interests as ‘there is no limit to experiences and curiosities’. Being outdoors allows the mind to relax and therefore opens space for creative thoughts. Creativity and new ideas, in most working environments, is a winning formula.
And it’s not just us Brits that think that, our friends across the pond feel the same in that exposure to natural environments unwinds the mind and opens it to different perspectives. According to the American Psychological Association, a study in 2001 explored the idea that ‘green is good for you’. The study looked into the positive effects of nature and how it restores mental clarity, the effects on the human body and their natural perceptions to nature. Two theories from Psychologist Rachel Kaplan PhD and Stephan Kaplan PhD, demonstrated the effects that outdoor environments have on reducing stress, changing moods and improving cognitive performance – all vital to today’s teambuilding, creative workplace.
The Psycho-Evolutionary Theory (PET), explains the effects that nature has on the body, concluding that humans have a positive ‘built-in’ emotion towards nature, automatically connecting themselves with a ‘natural’ environment to inspire a sense of calm and tension relief. The second, Attention Restoration Theory (ART), investigates how being outside in a natural environment encourages us to unwind and recharge, providing a gentle distraction from a conscious mental state to redirect focus.
A 2012 study, conducted by Professors at the University of Kansas and the University of Utah, explored ‘Creativity in the Wild’. The study observed the psychological benefits of nature on the human mind. Results showed that by spending less than 10 minutes immersed in nature, creativity was significantly boosted by up to 50%, and to top it off short-term memory increased up to 20%.
This and other research has proven that being outside has positive health benefits which can impact productivity and refocus the mental state to inspire thought, which is good news for delegates and good news for businesses. Both theories position nature as a power source that focuses and motivates, so adding an outdoor element to your meeting can only be beneficial, surely.
This summer at Stamford Bridge, we’ve introduced a series of outdoor meetings and events packages. Our Pop up Summer Garden, now available for exclusive use, offers breakout lunches and pre-meeting receptions. We’ve smoothies packed with all the right ingredients and a BBQ lunch with prime meat cuts and fresh salads to feed the body and the mind, in one inspiring outdoor environment. What’s more, the Summer Garden also has a sports lounge area with a wide-screen TV streaming the summer of sporting fixtures throughout the season, so why not swap the swivel chair for a deck chair this summer and bring your board meeting – and break out session – to the Bridge.