5 reasons to have walking meetings

The late, great Apple chief Steve Jobs and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison were best friends for years and went on many walks to discuss life and business. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg apparently walks with key candidates he’s recruiting to Facebook.

Walking meetings create a different atmosphere than the office and can spark creative thoughts. They also enable a different kind of social bonding – people open up more when having a stroll in the great outdoors.

Here are five reasons to get out of the office and enjoy walking meetings.

1)      It’s good for your health

Office workers spend an average of 8 hours a day sitting down. All of this inactivity puts you at risk from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, back problems and depression. Plus research from Harvard University has found that physical inactivity can put you at risk from premature death. Physical activity clears the head, can improve your health and provides a natural energy boost – which can make you more productive.

Dr Ted Eytan, a director of the Kaiser Permanente Centre for Total Health has produced a graphic of the difference that walking makes to your brain activity. This should inspire anyone to get out of their chair more often.

2)      Be more creative

Many people often get their best ideas in random places – like in the shower or while walking the dog. A simple change of environment by getting outside can spur on better creative processes. This is backed up by science too. A study from the University of Michigan found that people who spent time outside were better able to solve creative problems. And researchers at Stanford University found that creativity improved by an average of 60% when a person was walking. It doesn’t even have to be in a beautiful location either – the study found that it was the actual act of moving that spurred creativity.

3)      Better interaction with co-workers

A walking meeting offers face-to-face interaction with co-workers – a more personal connection that promotes brainstorming and sparks creative thinking. Walking and talking also forces you to ditch the smartphones, which let’s face it – everyone sneaks a look at during traditional meetings.

4)      Reinforce company vision, culture and core values

When talking one-to-one with employees, you cut through the office hierarchy and put people at ease. This encourages a positive atmosphere and you can talk more freely about company values. If people feel relaxed outdoors, they are more likely to share ideas on how to take the company forward.

5)      Encourage employee wellness

Walking meetings are great team-building exercises and can help employees become more engaged in their work.  By encouraging your employees to be more healthy and creative, they’ll feel good knowing you value their wellbeing – both physical and mental. Happy employees make better employees – and it’s a low-cost way to improve the health and happiness of your workforce.

For tips on how to run a walking meeting check out livingstreets.org.uk

Posted by Ashleigh Sharp

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