If you’ve ever worked in an office before, you know how easy it is to sit down at 9 a.m. and remain relatively stationary for the next eight or nine hours. It’s not exactly the healthiest way to spend your day, nor is it the most effective.
Research shows that in addition to improving our health, exercise also makes us more productive at work. Quite simply, exercise makes us more motivated and better at managing time, and it also reduces our stress and makes our minds clearer.
It’s important to remember that exercise doesn’t have to involve going to CrossFit, bench pressing seven zillion pounds, or running a half marathon. Indeed, the positive effects of exercise can be felt from simple movement; even a 10- or 20-minute walk may suffice, which is why companies like LinkedIn and Facebook have installed walking loops on their campuses.
If you’re looking to change the way you do things and improve office morale and employee engagement, consider holding one-on-one walking meetings — at least from time to time. These meetings can take place outdoors or, space permitting, indoors, so long as there’s enough room and a safe track to walk on.
By embracing walking meetings, you’ll benefit from:
1. Increased creative thinking
According to recent research from Stanford University, going for a simple walk enhances our creative abilities.
It makes sense when you think about it: it’s not exactly inspiring to stare at a cubicle wall or listen to two of your coworkers gab about whatever annoys you. But step outside, and voila, there’s fresh air, sunlight, blue skies, and maybe even some wildlife. At the very least, walking meetings heighten our senses and free us from the monotony of sitting down all day.
2. A more energized staff
The more you exercise, the more energy you and your workforce will have. Walking meetings can help break up the day, giving employees the extra boost they need to power through the afternoon. By definition, a more energized staff is a more productive one.
3. Clearer communication
When you hold meetings in a room, are you able to direct all of your focus on your employees? Or do your eyes wander over to a screen when an instant message or new email pops up?
Walking meetings allow you to temporarily suspend your reliance on (or addiction to) technology. The end result? You’re able to communicate more effectively with your staff, and you’re forced to listen to everything they have to say.
4. Better relationships with your employees
Free from a world of distractions found when you’re sitting inside the office, walking meetings lead to more honest exchanges between participants, according to the Harvard Business School. Over time, this honesty and candor can strengthen relationships — which increases employee engagement.
Next time you need to meet with a member of your team privately, why not move that meeting outside and go for a walk? Give it a shot. Who knows? Walking meetings could very well prove to be game changing at your organization.