Walking Meeting is one of my favourite wellbeing practices: highly beneficial and easy to do daily!
This week I am in Brittany 🙂, a perfect place to talk about ‘walking meeting’! If you don’t know about it, it simply consists of going for a walk during a meeting instead of staying at your desk, or in a meeting room. A 2-in-1 option, I find it easy to do daily because:
👉 We do spend a lot of (too much 😨!!) time in meetings! With hybrid/remote working most of these meetings are now calls or video calls giving us even more choices to practise walking meetings!
👉 Walking in a park, around the block or on a treadmill is accessible for the majority of us without any special equipment!
So today let’s unveil the benefits of such practice…
Walking meetings …
💡Improve physical health! Nothing surprising here walking, taking in some fresh air and sunlight make us healthier. But what we know less about is that excessive sitting or sedentarity (research differs but lets say sitting above 7h daily is excessive) increases risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease…😨 making sitting the new smoking😨!! Think about it, how many hours do you sit daily? Personally a few years ago, before using a standing desk and practising walking meetings I could easily sit 9h a day 😵!
💡Improve mental health! Research shows that walking can reduce anxiety, stress and depression as it positively impacts our central nervous response system and blood circulation! Walking outdoors brings extra benefits to our wellbeing as fresh air and especially daylight helps produce beneficial chemicals, such as serotonin and vitamin D.
👉 Note that working out does not prevent you from sedentarity and its negative consequences on health!!
💡Increase creativity! Believe it or not, researchers at Stanford University (2014) found that creative thinking increases by an average of 60% when walking and that indoor or outdoor walks similarly boost our creativity! So get on your feet to find inspiration, more flexible thinking and problem solving!
💡Energise! Have you ever felt refreshed and full of energy once back at your desk after a walk!? Not surprising as research also shows that walking
meetings improve energy level, focus and engagement!
How to start and make walking meetings work?
Now that we identified some of the benefits of walking meetings, How to start? Let me share some simple tips to make walking meetings your new favourite wellbeing habit!
1️⃣ Select the right meetings. On Friday when you plan for your week ahead or in the afternoon when you plan for the next day, choose the one meeting per day (to start!) you could make walking.
👉 Clearly not every meeting is appropriate for walking….Look for:
– 1-on-1s (virtual or in-person). They are the easiest to start with.
– Virtual meetings (hall-hands, decision-making, problem-solving, small brainstorming…). They also work well except if you are presenting, required to look at slides, whiteboards …
2️⃣Talk to your meeting’s guest(s) ahead. Inform participant(s) and ask them if they are interested in (virtually) walking with you! Even if they are reluctant to start with, you may change their mind and even jointly decide to make it a recurrent walking meeting!
3️⃣Plan for your time and your meeting notes!
Ideally save 5 mins at the beginning/end of the meeting so you can get out/back to your desk softly… Yes, it means shortening meeting’s duration, reducing back to back meetings (other fantastic wellbeing practices)!!
If you like taking meeting notes (I DO!!)…I recommend:
– Typing down directly on your handphone. I typically ask for a minute break from time to time so I can type down key points.
– Assigning someone who is not walking to take notes. In some of my virtual walking 1:1s, participant and I agreed to alternate weekly between walking and taking notes.
👉 Note: I don’t envision truly collaborative in-person walking meetings with more than 3 people. For larger crowds,💡standing meetings💡are ideal as you still get the health and creativity benefits while typically making your meetings shorter and more efficient 🙂. Nevertheless for large teams, I do recommend walking together for the purposes of bonding, creating honest exchanges and breaking down barriers – for instance in an offsite context.
In Brittany, It has been raining for the last few days 🌧 (no laugh!! 😆 ) It has stopped me a bit but in between showers 🌧 I walked and talked!
What about you? Will you practise walking meetings this week?