Walking is a known remedy to help increase focus and motivation and fight fatigue. Research shows that taking a walk can boost creativity compared to remaining sitting. In workplaces where employees are mostly sedentary, incorporating more walking into the workday may help drive company innovation and productivity.
Walk and talk meetings are becoming a popular way to capitalize on the benefits of walking, including generating fresh ideas, building team communication, and optimizing employee well-being. Follow our guide to hosting walking meetings at work to learn how to successfully pull off your first walk and talk meeting with your team.
What Are Walk and Talk Meetings?
With more understanding of the relationship between employee health and well-being and engagement, companies are rethinking conventional practices. Many teams are putting a new spin on how to hold meetings by turning them into walk and talk meetings to help boost employee wellness and team collaboration.
Rather than holding meetings at the office or in a coffee shop, schedule your meetings to take place during a 15 to 20-minute walk. Dedicating time to walking meetings allows your team to discuss and collaborate while promoting healthy habits, like physical activity and social well-being.
10 Tips for Hosting Walking Meetings
To host your first walking meeting, you’ll want to do some advanced planning so it runs smoothly. From choosing your location to picking the right type of meeting to do on foot, there are plenty of factors to consider before sending out the invite.
Below are the top tips for hosting walking meetings at work:
1. Give advanced notice: When wanting to incorporate more walking meetings into your week, it’s important to run it by your other meeting attendees ahead of time. Get a confirmation that they’re comfortable with walking meetings, and that way, they can make sure to wear appropriate clothing and footwear.
2. Schedule afternoon walking meetings: Afternoons may be the best time to schedule walking meetings. After lunch, people tend to appreciate the opportunity to get out of the office and breathe fresh air. Walking meetings can help improve focus so your team feels recharged for the rest of the workday.
3. Keep the meetings small: Walking meetings are appropriate for groups of no more than five people. Hosting a walking meeting with too many attendees can create distractions and lead people to have their own side conversations. If you have a larger group, consider a standing meeting instead.
4. Have a pre-planned route: Plan your meeting route based on how long the meeting should take. Pre-planning your meeting route also avoids spending too much time getting everyone to agree on where to walk. Add the route to your meeting details so everyone is aware of the plan.
5. Check the weather: When sending out your walking meeting invite, consider advising your attendees of the weather forecast for that day. Remind them to dress appropriately and bring any items they’ll need, such as an umbrella in case it rains or a water bottle during the summer heat.
6. Prepare an agenda: Provide your attendees with an agenda. Since walking meetings can be unpredictable, having an agenda helps keep your meeting as focused and productive as possible. Appoint one person as the agenda leader and another as the route guide to share the management duties.
7. Pick an appropriate situation: Reserve walking meetings for appropriate topics. If your team is meeting to discuss ideas or build team spirit, then walking meetings are ideal. Meetings that cover sensitive topics or provide in-depth information are not conducive to a walk and talk scenario.
8. Voice record your meetings: If you normally have someone take notes during your meetings, then have your scribe switch to voice recording. Bring a notebook in case of technical difficulties, and take breaks if you need to write anything down.
9. Include remote employees: If your team works remotely, you can still host virtual walking meetings with a few improvisations. Meet with your team over Slack or FaceTime while each attendee walks their own route locally.
10. Have employees track their steps: Make your walking meetings count by counting your steps. If your organization hosts step challenges, walking meetings are a great way to boost your team’s participation. Have your team members record their individual step counts and then report at the end of the meeting how far you walked as a group.
Health Benefits of Walking Meetings at Work
Walking is a positive lifestyle habit that produces tremendous benefits. Not only does walking reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses, but it also increases energy levels and helps manage stress. By turning your meetings into walking ones, your team can take advantage of these benefits and more.
Below are a few of the benefits of walking during meetings:
- Boost worker health: By combining work and exercise, you can help employees take care of their health. Walking meetings allow workers to undergo cardio activity, increase their step count, and get some fresh air.
- Improve team building: Since walking meetings feel more relaxed than conventional ones, they elicit more opportunities for spontaneity. During walking meetings, managers and employees connect on a new level, interacting in ways that improve teamwork and collaboration.
- Inspire creativity: When we step outside the regular office environment, we open ourselves up to new ideas and perspectives. Walking meetings allow your team to engage in a way that inspires more creativity. During walking meetings, attendees can freely brainstorm innovative solutions.
- Increase engagement: With improved health, focus, and creativity, employees also feel more engaged in their organization’s mission, values, and purpose when they participate in walking meetings. According to Johnson & Johnson, after 90 days of walking meetings, employees reported feeling improved company engagement.
Make Walking Meetings Part of Your Workplace Wellness Program
Increase employee engagement, spark creative ideas, and promote workplace wellness by hosting regular walking meetings at work. Incorporate walking meetings into your weekly workplace routines, adopting physical activity as a part of your company culture.
Walking meetings are also one idea for workplace wellness activities that encourage better employee well-being. By switching some of your regular team meetings to walking meetings, your organization will benefit from healthier, more productive employees.
Originally published March 31, 2022 - 8:54 AM, updated June 17, 2022