Has your desk become your “second home”? Many of us work at a desk for 8+ hours a day. Some of us are guilty of eating at our desk and taking our breaks there, too.
A desk-sitting lifestyle comes with certain health-related risks. Because of this, many workplaces have started to adopt walking meetings as a solution.
WHAT ARE WALKING MEETINGS?
Walking meetings aren’t actually anything new. Steve Jobs, Sigmund Freud and Aristotle have used them in the past. They are a great way for people who work desk jobs to take a meeting on the road and get some exercise.
Get up from your desk. Whether it’s around your office, walking to lunch or even a quick stroll around the park, walking meetings are a nice change from a typical boardroom or desk. They have also been shown to break down the hierarchical barrier between managers and employees. You may get some unexpected candid conversation and free flow of ideas.
IS SITTING THE NEW SMOKING?
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadians spend 69% of their waking hours sitting. At the office, in the car, at home watching TV … we are sitting so much that the risks of sitting are now being compared to smoking risks!
Physical activity has been proven to improve physical health. Walking 30 to 60 minutes a day can help reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer.
BENEFITS OF WALKING AND TALKING
- Get a boost in creativity. If you’re having a meeting that involves brainstorming or thinking out of the box, a walking meeting is perfect. Cardiovascular exercise (like brisk walking) enhances creative thinking through an increase in serotonin.
- Get a much-needed break from your screen. No distractions and notifications mean improved focus and productivity.
- Get exercise credits while walking. Before fitness trackers, finding time to exercise at work often competed with to-do tasks, such as coworker huddles, planning initiatives or completing deliverables. Today, with an activity tracker, credits are given for activities such as walking. In a walking meeting, you receive steps that count towards fitness tracking goals. So not only are you receiving a boost in creativity, taking a screen-time break, but you are also doing something good for your health!
HOW TO WALK THE WALK
Walking meetings are ideal for people from all different levels of the organization – executives, managers and entry-level employees. You can even use them with your clients, as long as you let them know in advance! Here are some more recommendations:
- Keep the meeting to two to three people. It may be difficult to walk and talk in a large group.
- Don’t surprise clients and co-workers with a walking meeting. Schedule it in advance and let them know the style of meeting so they can bring the appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear, if needed.
- Keep it structured. Let everybody know the points you’ll be covering, how long the meeting will be and how far they’ll be walking.
- Be prepared. Assign someone to be the “tour guide” and select a landmark or point of interest as the destination. Have someone else bring refillable water bottles to stay hydrated. And don’t forget sun protection like sunglasses, broad-brimmed hats and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher.
- Cool down. Take the last few minutes of your meeting to recap key takeaways while you do some gentle stretches. We all know how handy meeting notes can be, make sure to write down takeaways when you return to the office! If you are worried you won’t be able to remember key action items, you can write down a few points in your mobile phone.
Summer offers the perfect opportunity to try out walking meetings with your coworkers. Show your office that you can walk the walk … and talk the talk!
SAY HELLO TO WELLO
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