Funny Business with Jane Wells

Meetings Go Better With Grass


Office meetings do more harm than good. Prove me wrong. Go ahead. Try.

Dave & Les Jacobs | Blend Images | Getty Images

More time is wasted, more hot air expended (global warming!), in the conference room than in any place other than Congress.

Can grass change that? Not the kind you smoke. The kind you mow.

Crowne Plaza, owned by InterContinental Hotels Group is experimenting this week with putting carpets of grass inside conference rooms at some hotels in the UK and Ireland. The point is to improve creativity.

Are they high? No.

Crowne Plaza points to two reasons. First, a study shows that 40 percent of us lose interest in meetings after 20 minutes, but I think it's worse than that. My experience is that 100 percent of us lose interest after five minutes (add coffee and donuts and make it ten minutes). Secondly, professional speaker Angela Whitlock claims "that by the age of 25, as much as 98 percent of our creativity has vanished."

REALLY? Creativity vanishes at the same age our insurance rates drop? We become better risks because we lose our imaginations? 

A trial run of the grass-laden conference rooms ends Friday. Hotel spokeswoman Eleanor Conroy says it's "one of the things we're doing at Crowne Plaza to help our guests get the most out of their business trips."

But how does grass help employees pay more attention and be more creative? "The look and feel of the grass is said to remind guests of their childhood and therefore free them of societal barriers that restrict activity," says author Whitlock. "Everybody should kick off their shoes once in a while and walk barefoot on the grass to rekindle the creativity that was allowed to flow freely in childhood before too many rules got in the way."

Let's just get rid of those rules. And the meetings. I promise I'll end up a lot more attentive and creative.

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