Walking Meetings – Hot Air or Productivity Booster?
Have you heard about walking meetings yet? Well, it’s an idea that could energise your white collar staff and boost productivity at the same time.
Sedentary jobs have a tendency to make workers lazy and therefore prone to chronic diseases. Did you ever think health improvement ideas can arise from unexpected quarters?
Well if you did, you are right. Recent research has shown that boring meetings in the office can be spruced up with the simplest physical activity known to man – walking.
Those of us who attend regular office meetings can testify how totally tedious and uninspiring these meetings can be. Sometimes these meetings drag on unnecessarily with the inevitable consequence of diminshing levels of concentration to attendees. There are individuals who to all intents and purposes exemplify the “broken record” phenomenon. They make meetings laborious and tedious.
We share a few tips and guidelines on how you can make walking meetings part of your corporate strategy.
Walking Meetings Tips and Benefits
Walking meetings research has now demonstrated that “walking meetings” may just be the antidote these boring office boardroom meetings need. For a start this solution is free and has added benefits.
So, what is a walking meeting? A walking meeting is a regular meeting but the only difference being that the meeting is held with all participants in the meeting walking in and around any chosen venue, other than the regular boardroom.
The venue could be within the corporate premises or some other external venue like a park.
Russell Clayton, an assistant professor of management with the Donald R. Tapia School of Business at Saint Leo University in Florida discussed the benefits of walking meetings.
Russell suggested that companies embracing walking meetings should expect to get improved job satisfaction and accelerated job engagement in return for being that innovative in their work practices.
Apart from those corporate benefits, individual staff members participating in such meetings should expect some personal health benefits too. Such personal benefits include improvement to health like reversal or prevention of high blood pressure, lowering of cholesterol, preventing or reversing diabetes, weight loss and overall fitness. Talk about killing more than one bird with one stone!
This translates to one forgotten corporate benefit – Less absenteeism. Holding regular walking meetings means staff members will have less sick days contributing more to overall annual productivity as less disruption to company duties will occur as a result of the health benefits of walking.
Study author Hannah Kling, a graduate of the department of public health sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine who carried out the research on white collar workers from the same university does accept that activities such as taking notes and document reviews might represent a challenge during walking meetings.
Hannah did offer some walking meetings tips and guidelines especially tackling problems relating to secretarial issues, a major obstacle seen by bosses as a hindrance.
Hannah talking to medicinenet website suggested that temporary stops to take notes or using digital voice recorders are ways to meet writing challenges during walking meetings.
A regular cell phone can be used for voice recording. How about the old reliable dictaphones? Minutes of meetings can be recorded using any of those devices. Don’t forget we now have speech-to-text software which can be used for transcribing purposes or simply transcribe minutes manually afterwards.
Appropriate attire like sunglasses, hats, water bottle, sunscreen would be necessary in hot weather conditions.
During walking meetings, do resist the temptation to have some sort of processed food snack along the way. No need for sugar-loaded coffee along the way as a reward for the meeting. This takes away the health benefits of the walking exercise and indeed it isn’t necessary at all..
Hannah Kling recommends:
- A sit-and-conclude time after the 30-minute walk to go over paperwork or other things that couldn’t be addressed while walking
- Keeping the group small, usually 3 – 4 team members is about the right group size and
- Planning it in advance so attendees can come prepared — for example, wearing good walking shoes and weather-appropriate attire.
The conclusion from the walking meeting research was that this approach has the potential to combat the negative effects of sedentary behavior.
This idea of walking meetings may sound impractical at first, but the more you think about it the more realisable it is. All that is required is the courage to implement it.
Just remember that corporate and personal benefits await all bosses willing to take on this innovative idea. Give it a try and see how it pans out. It might require a few tweaks here and there to make it work for everyone but it is certainly worth a try. Besides, you might just have a lot of fun doing it.
Need to learn more about how you may use walking as a superfood? Go here.
Suggested further reading:
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