WORKPLACE / OCT. 22, 2014
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Ways to Make a Walking Meeting More Productive and Private

The concept of holding a meeting is still one that’s evolved into an activity to dread rather than embrace as a chance to discuss ideas vital to a company. Why it’s turned out that way has everything to do with sitting around an executive table, sometimes in the early morning hours, while everyone tries to wake up with donuts and coffee. But in the United States, some companies are starting to take a different approach on meetings to freshen things up. In some cases, that means doing a walking meeting where staff collectively go for a brisk walk outdoors together while discussing concerns or ideas.

Consider these points in why doing the above in the morning (or even the afternoon) could be vital to your health:

  • Getting away from a desk or table and into the brisk air can help keep people awake and alert to discussing complex concepts, or for brainstorming ideas.
  • Going outdoors and into different environments helps relieve boredom and the tedium of seeing the same indoor setting every day.

This is only the beginning of how walking as a group during meetings can help a work environment become inspiring rather than stuck in the trap of sameness and uninspiring behaviour. When you place in the knowledge that walking is becoming the best exercise anyone can do if they have no time to work out, a company CEO is helping not only their own health, they also help the health of their entire staff.

Even the celebrated online TED talks are now discussing the walking meeting concept and how much it’s starting to be utilised for the sake of health and intellect. Business innovator Nilfer Merchant delivered a TED talk on the subject last year that’s received a lot of attention:

While the benefits of walking can help inspire ideas, there can still be some issues in the details that need some attention. Most of that comes in the things said out loud in the meeting while walking outdoors. In some cases, it may have to involve walking in populated neighborhoods if your company isn’t lucky enough to be near a bucolic or other isolated place.

What happens if you’re discussing trade secrets in a populated area where people might be listening? It’s something to consider when discussing a private matter could easily be picked up by someone who might work for your competition. In that regard, be careful what you talk about while doing your walking meeting in populated areas. For overly private discussions, it’s usually better to wait and discuss them indoors, or find an isolated area where you know people wouldn’t be listening.

By doing walking meetings, however, you’re managing to keep away from the problem of fatigue and drowsiness in your workplace. Even so, naps in the workplace are another growing trend that can complement the walking meeting in helping to change offices into the healthy environments they should always be.

Photo Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald


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