When most think of office multitasking, they usually envision someone instant messaging while composing an email and preparing a lengthy document or spreadsheet. But multitasking also occurs when combining the typical one-on-one meeting or small informal brainstorming session with a leisurely stroll through the park. In fact, there’s even a name for that: walking meeting.
Walking meetings combine day-to-day tasks with corporate wellness program initiatives, helping employees stay fit, active, and productive. Beyond adding steps to their trackers and reducing inches from their waistlines, walking meetings are shown to boost creativity, help circumvent the afternoon slump, enhance problem-solving capabilities, and resolve conflicts. They also align with a company’s commitment to the environment by saving energy and resources.
Companies looking to reinvigorate enthusiasm around meetings might want to consider shifting the setting from indoor to outdoor and replacing fluorescent lights with energizing sunlight. Make your walking meeting a remarkable success by planning paths well in advance, with care taken to map quiet routes that last 15, 30, or 60 minutes at a casual pace.
Announce meetings well beforehand to ensure attendees wear proper walking attire including comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothes. Employees can even bring their own water bottles, to-go coffee cups, and Inspire trackers to measure their progress. Keep the meeting on-topic and focused by asking attendees to shut off their phones before the walk begins. Exceptions can be made, however, for employees who spend a lot of time on the phone and who might need to forward their desk line to their mobile device. Meeting etiquette remains the same, with walking meetings led by a facilitator, announced with an agenda, and recorded with minutes.
Though walking meetings may not be appropriate for a giant company-wide announcement, they can eliminate the doldrums from the hundreds of other meetings conducted among parties of six or fewer people. And they might even become the new norm for that traditional standing weekly.