For most office workers, sitting is a way of life. You sit at your desk, in the breakroom, in the conference room and definitely throughout lunch. Then you sit in your car as you drive home, sit at the dinner table and sit on the couch while you watch TV. That’s alot of inactive time, and even exercising for as much as an hour a day won’t undo the damage. From standing desks to in-office yoga, there are countless ways to sneak a little bit more movement into your day. But perhaps one of the best techniques is one that’s commonly overlooked: walking meetings. Here are a few reasons why they’re a great idea and how you can incorporate them into your office life.
What’s So Great About Walking Meetings?
1. They get the blood pumping
Whether you’ve got a team of power walkers or you prefer a quiet stroll through the park, walking will pump oxygenated blood throughout your body. This decreases the health risks associated with sitting like Deep Vein Thrombosis and insulin resistance, and also delivers fresh nutrients to your brain so you can really pump out the good ideas.
2. New environments spark creativity
There’s nothing less conducive to innovation than staying huddled in a blank-walled cubicle. Walking through different environments will help your team think in new ways. Plus, it can be fun and motivating to toggle between different routes, helping team members feel like they’re exploring while they’re meeting.
3. Set routes keep meetings on
As most office workers know too well, scheduled meetings often run over their time slots, cutting into your “getting things done” time. Having a set route will help ensure that when a destination is reached, the meeting is done–no spillovers.
4. Cuts through hierarchical distinctions
When you’re really trying to brainstorm creative solutions, the last thing you want is for team members to hold back because the boss is in the room. The casual nature of walking meetings helps reduce anxiety, ensuring that all ideas are heard.
5. Encourages private and distraction-free interactions
One-on-one meetings in the office are often interrupted by phone calls or colleagues with urgent requests that aren’t actually all that urgent. Walking meetings help keep meetings private and productive, allowing for greater one-on-one interaction.
How to Have a Great Walking Meeting
1. Have an agenda
An agenda is even more important during a walking meeting, as the casual nature of the setting can lead topics off track. For that reason, it’s also important that you have 100% buy-in from your team members, so they’ll be sure to dress comfortably, take the meeting seriously and be focused and engaged. For the best results, designate a meeting leader to keep things on pace.
2. Work in smaller groups
Walking meetings do best when they’re limited to just 2 or 3 people who can walk abreast on a sidewalk or path. If your team is larger than that, plan on splitting up into groups.
3. Know your route ahead of time
Getting lost shouldn’t be on the agenda. Choose your route carefully, avoiding any that will be potentially too noisy or dis
tracting. For longer routes, pick a destination where you can pick up a reward, like a coffee shop with great biscotti. This can also be a great place for a break, where the notetaker can type up any notes using a tablet and a Goldtouch mobile keyboard. Alternatively, ask your team members’ permission to record the meeting so nothing is missed.
4. Ban smartphones
Except for mapping and recording, it’s best to enforce a strict no smartphones policy. Not only will this keep everyone focused on task, but it will also prevent anyone from falling off a curb while they text (how’s that for liability?).
5. Choose the best time of day
Some teams will prefer walking in the morning to really start the day off right. Others will prefer walking during the afternoon to overcome that 3PM slump.
6. End with an action plan
< p>When your walking meeting ends, don’t just drift off to various parts of the building. Stop at the door of your office to lay out concrete action steps for every team member and set a date for your next walking meeting.
Today’s modern office life revolves around the chair, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Walking meetings are a great way to sneak in a little exercise while getting to know your teammates and brainstorming impressive ideas. So slip those walking shoes on beneath that suit and get going!
About the Author: Leah Kaminsky is a writer and blogs for Goldtouch, an ergonomic keyboard company located in Cedar Park, Texas. When not working on her fiction writing, you can find her jogging with a dorky pastel visor on (hey, a girl has to protect her face). You can follow her at @JustStartApps.