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November 7, 2006

Water views feed conference creativity

Choosing a venue that’s close to water could help improve the effectiveness of your conference, according to recent research carried out in conjunction with Glasgow Caledonian University.

The study shows that staff feel more creative, valued and less confined when around water, whether it’s a river, canal or the sea. “Water adds to the working environment in a very positive way,” Dr Cynthia McVey, health psychologist at Glasgow Caledonian University, told human resources magazine Personnel Today. “Just being by water is both relaxing and stimulating – employees are more likely to feel positive about their work and more valued.”

Dominic Armstrong organises regular events for technology company Indago. “We always look for venues that are conducive to ‘open sky thinking’,” he said. “River views really help with the thought process and getting some amazing ideas going among the team.”

Convinced of the impact of striking views in general on events, Joanna Asquith of telecoms business Air Wide Solutions, said: “There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a bland faceless conference room. Natural daylight is one thing, but amazing views really can help to make the most of the meeting, sending you on your away with a new vigour and some great ideas.”

Both companies regularly hold events at Berkshire hotel The Crown Plaza Reading, which has recently completed river-facing conference rooms (see above) as part of a £6.5 million investment programme. Created by innovative designer Charles Leon, the facilities span a commanding stretch of the River Thames. Commenting on the research and the response of his customers, the hotel’s group operations manager Nick Muir said: “There’s a great analogy with the Thames as it meanders from source to the capital – ideas generated at the hotel may well end up as great initiatives in the City boardrooms.”

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