It is recommended by many professionals that everyone be active at least every day. This is certainly difficult for many, whether it be because you just don’t want to or cannot fit the time into your day. A great idea to increase your activity level and enhance your creative juices may be to try taking your meetings outdoors.
Walking meetings have become increasingly popular and some hold that these may even accomplish more. They can improve camaraderie and connectivity among colleagues, while also improving moods and increasing productivity. An article by Ronnie Citron-Fink (Planet Green, 2012) listed 9 reasons why walking meetings are successful:
Physical activity energizes people and makes them more alert.
Different environments can inspire new ideas and stimulate creativity.
Time outdoors, in nature, with fresh air and light, improves physical and mental well-being.
Walking and talking side by side cuts through hierarchical work distinctions and sets people at ease, which enhances a positive working spirit.
Walking burns calories, stimulates oxygen flow around the body which in turn increases brain function and increases the ability to solve problems faster.
Walking and moving allow the mind to become more flexible and can help stimulate the right side of the brain.
Being outdoors can increase confidentiality that can allow colleagues to work privately without interruptions.
Engaging the mind and body is a more holistic way to work.
It saves office resources when there are fewer machines running which makes the workplace more sustainable and green.
Now that you have read about all the fantastic benefits of walking meetings, the next step is to organize one! Here are a few helpful tips on how to organize a walking meeting:
Organize everything you’ll need for the meeting beforehand and include an agenda.
Make sure everyone gets a memo about wearing comfortable shoes.
Consider the walking meeting for early in the workday to set the tone for the day and/or late in the afternoon when employees energy needs to be revived and recharged.
Figure out how long the walking meeting should be with a consideration of the workers fitness levels.
Have a backup plan in case weather does not permit.
Natural settings such as parks or trails work best, but urban settings with sidewalks can be stimulating and convenient. Avoid noisy roads that are distracting and dangerous.
Email the route to attendees prior to the meeting.
You now have the tools to organize a walking meeting! Enjoy this alternative way of developing ideas, building on relationships with colleagues, staying fit and enjoying the community. Rumor has it that even Aristotle would take his students on walks.