When you think of a “team meeting”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it a whiteboard? Chairs circling a conference table? Dial-ins from the other office? I suspect most of these ring a bell or two. But how about fresh air, chirping birds, and a little movement? Where do they fit?
We spend most of our time sitting down and in front of a screen at the office, so why not use team meetings as an opportunity for something different? It might seem unconventional and maybe even counter-intuitive, but “walking meetings” are a great way of mixing a healthy activity with the productivity you come to expect from a meeting.
We’ve seen the benefits first hand. At Fit Company, we try to squeeze in a team walking meeting pretty much every week. After most meetings, our team feels refreshed, our minds feel focused, and we come back to the office ready to be productive. It’s been really helpful for our team and we’re hoping you’ll give it a try with your team!
If you’re on the fence about the concept, rest assured that there’s more than a few reasons to consider this type of meeting:
- Walking is an amazing de-stressor. If your team is feeling the pressure of deadlines, taking a few minutes to move around on their own two feet will help ease some of the tension they might be feeling.
- It’s a great opportunity to unplug, even for a few minutes. Getting that break from the screens gives your mind a chance to clear up and organize all those thoughts.
- Physical momentum equals mental momentum. You might find your best ideas come when walking! We often do.
- Changing your environment often changes your way of thinking about a problem. If your team’s been hitting a wall all morning, walking while continuing the topic may help your team make a breakthrough.
- Walking increases your blood flow, which in turn leads to better energy and ideas (and sometimes even more rapid ideas, too).
- Sunlight gives you Vitamin D! This often ignored vitamin gives our immune system a boost and is essential for overall health.
- It’s energizing and FUN! When you return to the office, your team will feel revitalized and ready to work.
Did we win you over yet? I hope so, because it’s not hard to get a meeting like this going. Just keep a few of the following in mind when getting started:
- Find the right time of day. We recommend mid-morning or mid-afternoon walking meetings to help break up the routine and screen time.
- Pick a subject you can cover without needing a computer. Brainstorming sessions are amazing when you’re walking, but finalizing a slide deck might be better left for the conference room.
- Make the meeting intentional. Write 1-3 objectives down (preferably on paper) before the meeting begins and make sure you hit those on your walk.
- This is doubly important for the first few meetings, since team members might get distracted if things don’t seem too formal. Just remember why you’re there and keep the focus on getting things done.
- Bring something to record the meeting. Using your phone to record the audio is great, since you can listen to the file again later. Be sure to summarize the big points and breakthroughs before the end of the recording.
- Of course, if you’d rather stay unplugged and avoid the phone distractions, have someone bring a notepad and pen along.
- Find the right path. Avoid busy intersections and commercial streets during peak hours. If there’s a park nearby with some greenery, give that a shot.
- One secret: if you have a huge office or a parking garage, these make great alternatives for the outdoors if the weather is poor or if not everyone is dressed to go for a walk. We’ve personally used our covered parking area more than a few times for this.
And that’s it! So, your challenge for this week: put together one walking meeting with your team. Pick something light to begin with, get a couple of co-workers together, and get to stepping! Once it’s over, take stock and see how everyone feels. You might be amazed at the results.
Bonus challenge? If you find yourself doing a lot of remote work or taking conference calls, see if you can take it while on a walk. We do it all the time and it definitely helps keep us focused and energized.
We hope you take up at least one of the challenges! If you do, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter to tell us how it goes. If you have any comments, feedback or tips of your own, we’d love to hear from you.
The FC Squad