We first began walking meetings 2 years ago after hearing about the many benefits it can have both physically and mentally for the individual but also for creativity and finding solutions within the business.
Problem-solving can be enhanced by the physical activity of walking (“thinking on your feet”), as well as informal interactions. Creativity is enhanced when we are physically active and stimulated by the variety in events and visual, auditory, and other senses. Relationships are developed while walking and team building occurs while involved in informal activities. The spontaneous mixing that occurs on a walk can enhance our daily interactions. Walking meetings help prepare for decision making and can result in more options for consideration.
After trialing these with a few teams and the positive feedback, I implemented them across the division, the only downside is not having a pen and paper to remember any action points, however, that’s proving to be a good cognitive test!
I asked a couple of the teams how they felt about walking team meetings and if they are as effective as those that take place in meeting rooms. Below are a few of the responses.
‘The walking meetings are great, it’s nice to get out in the fresh air. Everyone seems more relaxed and happier to talk. I feel we have much more energy when we get back to our desks.’
‘Sometimes I don’t always want to leave my desk, especially when very busy but once we are out and about, the fresh air and chatting while walking really helps me think clearer and feel refreshed when back in the office.’
‘Love them! A good bit of exercise, gets me thinking about my roles more.’ ‘A work meeting that also feels like a little break!’
‘We can talk the talk AND walk the walk. Walking gets us talking. Teams that walk together, talk together!’
I noticed everyone felt more energised and refreshed coming back to the office. It also felt like everyone was more engaged when discussing jobs and candidates.
Generally, we go out rain or shine, sometimes we stop to talk (especially for my larger teams) but often we talk whilst we walk. I have recently started tracking our step count and encouraging everyone to walk the four flights of stairs in our office if able and was pleasantly surprised how many steps the teams are notching up, over 42,000 in January – March and 112 flights of stairs by walking once a week. In a role that is predominately desk-based, a short walk can really help with mental health and wellbeing.
These meetings save us time, as are shorter but more engaging than meetings sat around the table. There are occasions where our meetings are held inside (e.g. if someone isn’t able to physically attend a walking meeting,) and we regularly monitor the effectiveness to ensure they are still delivering results for individuals and the business.