If you need to get more steps at the office, try holding a walking meeting to get productive and get active at the same time! You may already know that taking short walks during your breaks is an easy way to get in more steps, but it may be hard to work breaks into your busy schedule.
Walking meetings can actually be just as productive if not more so than regular meetings, but they are more effective in some cases as opposed to others. Walking meetings force you to conduct faster, efficient meetings, and you may find that getting active makes you more creative, which can lead to more progress as well!
We cover what types of meetings work well as walking meetings (and what don’t), as well as tips for making walking meetings both active and productive.
What is a walking meeting?
A walking meeting is just what it sounds like. Instead of sitting at a conference table, your office or a coffee shop, you take the meeting outside while you walk. You can go for a nice walk and get your steps at the same time.
Studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time can be dangerous for your health. Taking an occasional walking meeting can break up your inactivity at the office, which can help to undo the damage from sitting.
Working meetings don’t work great for meetings where you have to share your computer screen or follow along with a PowerPoint presentation. But walking meetings will work for a lot of other meeting types and situations. Walking meetings also help keep your meetings short and manageable. Even 5-minute walks can really add up over time, and they force you to keep meetings productive and reach a resolution or move on to a more important task in a short period of time.
Which meetings work best for walking?
Here are 3 meeting types that work well for walking meetings:
You know those meetings where you talk with your boss about your goals for the quarter or the year? Those are great for walking meetings because they’re usually casual, you’re both exchanging ideas, and you don’t need to write anything down. If you need to talk strategy with a coworker, or if you’re meeting a contact for career advice, walking meetings also work well.
Conference calls where you’ll mostly be listening
Many companies hold quarterly or annual town hall-style meetings via conference calls. These are great opportunities to walk because you’re listening instead of talking, especially if you don’t plan to take notes. If you’ve been looped into a call where someone else is presenting, why not get steps in! If you do have to speak, remember that background noise from your environment may be distracting to other participants. Because of this, calls where you have to do a great deal of speaking are probably not ideal as a walking meeting. Make sure you mute your microphone if you’re just listening!
Brainstorming sessions where you won’t need to write anything down
Looking to just get some ideas flowing between you and your coworker for your next project? Researchers from Stanford University have discovered that walking can increase creativity by 60%. Brainstorming sessions can sometimes be boring, and many participants may be reluctant to contribute. By taking a walk and getting your creative juices flowing, you can make these sessions more fun and engaging! Instead of holding your brainstorming session in front of a whiteboard, take a walk and come up with some new ideas.
It’s still important to make sure that you don’t forget the interesting ideas that you come up with during a walking meeting. Try using a dictation app to record voice notes of topics you covered and ideas that you’re interested in pursuing. Alternatively, use a note-taking app and quickly write down bullet points that you can expand on when you’re done. Make sure to write down your ideas when you get back to your desk, as they’ll be most fresh at that time.
Tips for holding a successful walking meeting
- If you’re doing an in-person walking meeting, make sure the other participants know you’re planning on walking. This way they can prepare themselves, including wearing proper walking shoes.
- Plan your route ahead of time. You don’t need to plan this down to the minute, but just have a general idea of where you’ll go. You’ll want a safe route without dangerous intersections or lots of people as these elements are distracting and can be a safety issue if you’re focused on the meeting.
- If you’re walking around the office, find a place where you can walk and talk without bothering others. You’ll want enough space so you won’t end up pacing back and forth. If there’s not enough room inside, consider taking your meeting outside.
- If you’re walking outside, try to find a route that includes a park, trees, or grass. Researchers have found that walking through green spaces reduces frustration. If that’s not possible, you can always walk around the building.
- Pick a pace that works for you and your coworker. Aim for something faster than a stroll, but not so fast that you’re both panting for breath and can’t talk. If your coworker has to wear work attire, try to be considerate and not work up too much of a sweat!
Walking during a meeting may sound unusual, but try it a few times and you might start looking forward to it. Walking increases your creativity, improves your health, and reduces stress and frustration. Taking walking meetings with your boss or coworkers is an easy way to connect outside of the office. Perhaps most importantly, you can get those extra steps you need to beat your step goals!
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