Why do training off-site? The benefits of booking external meeting space for staff training

At The Circle we see groups receiving all kinds of training at our Dundee location – health and safety, operational procedures, business strategy, customer service, social media, confidence workshops, parenting, social enterprise start-up, design, volunteering and more. Sometimes this training is delivered to members of the public but often organisations come and do their internal staff development work at The Circle.

We are on hand to see and hear the benefits of getting out of your usual workplace for staff training.

  • Being interruption-free

While writing this blog, I was interrupted four times. I wish you could read the brilliant version that I could have written in isolation without phone calls and reception desk enquiries. We all know that in business that is not always possible but for some things you really need to be in an interruption-free zone.

  • Taking time away from our screens

Unless you are doing some specific IT-type training, then you will not have screens in front of you – no monitors, laptops, tablets or mobiles. This means that the presenter or task you are focusing on gets your full attention without the temptation to glance at a notification or incoming email. This is so much better for team communication but also how you learn

  • Working ON your business

Something we all need to think about for time-to-time is spending time working ON a business, rather than IN the business. Obviously, our customers are important to all of us but in order to best serve them, we all need to work on our processes, strategies and knowledge. While this may reduce available services for a day or two at a time it results in much better service overall and ensures that your business is prepared for future developments, making it competitive and resilient.

  • Getting to know your colleagues

Teams who have been having away days for team-building exercises understand that in our 9-5 environment we don’t often get to know our colleagues very well. We maybe interact with them on one of their job functions but we don’t appreciate the person as a whole. In a group training session, we get to mix with different colleagues from those we sit with every day and begin to understand their skills, strengths and experiences but also build a better rapport which helps our future interactions.

  • Removing hierarchies

When we are in our usual workplace, we can be subject to hierarchies and structures in place with supervisors and management teams. These can be because of office layout, work patterns or even more subtle things like different uniforms. Being away from your usual place of work can remove these structures and barriers, ensuring better sharing of thoughts and ideas. Your next service might just come from a member of staff that wouldn’t usually be at management meetings.

  • Clear, focused heads

Working on one task at a time is often seen as a bit of a luxury in the modern workplace. We know that our performance is generally better when working like this but service demands can often compete for our attention. Spending the day focused on one service, one skill or one aspect of our roles ensures quality thoughts and a quality learning experience. In the same way that we gain new focus after annual leave, we can gain clarity by changing our environment and thinking deeply on one topic.

  • Appropriate facilities

Meeting rooms usually provide a projector and screen or large TV, a flipchart and WiFi. They can be flexible in layout and have comfortable seating. You can request tea and coffee (an essential requirement for a day of learning and contributing) and you can bring in catering to make the most of the time you have booked. In open-plan offices and when trying to be economical with the space that we rent, these facilities are often not found. Other teams might work in non-office environments and not have any suitable space for meetings or training and affordable meeting space makes training a possibility for organisations working in restricted space and on a small budget.

Thinking about the location, as well as the specific deliverables, of your training can greatly increase its effectiveness. If you are going to invest in some training for your team, make sure they can get the most out of it with a comfortable environment, free of distractions and the facilities that it requires.

2 thoughts on “Why do training off-site? The benefits of booking external meeting space for staff training

    • nicola1donnelly says:

      We agree. Charlie. Different venues work for different purposes and audiences and it’s something trainers need to consider.

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