Although we keep hearing that "mobile" technology is taking over the world , the fact is that people are spending more time sitting at their desk than ever before. In 2019 it is estimated that the average American office worker – across all kinds of niches – is sitting an average of 9 1/2 hours a day – two more hours than they sleep. And the toll it can take on their health is shocking.
Why are people spending so much time chained to their desks? The drive to increase productivity, to get more done, to move ahead, both as individuals and a company. And yet the irony is that leaving those desks can make employees far more effective, and walking meetings are one way to do that.
There are reasons that Steve Jobs insisted on walking meetings at Apple (that continue under Tim Cook) and that Mark Zuckerberg favours them as well. They work. And here are five reasons why incorporating walking meetings into your company – and company culture will benefit your employees and your company more than you might ever have imagined:
Even those companies that can afford to offer an onsite gym often find that many employees don't use it because they "can't spare the time". By encouraging walking meetings physical activity – and walking is a great physical activity – is integrated into the average workday without the participants feeling that they are wasting time or neglecting their work. More walking = healthier employees. Healthier employees = lower healthcare costs, and fewer sick days. It's almost a no-brainer.
More Energetic Employees
Movement increases circulation; circulation increases energy. Rather than reach for the candy bowl to get a boost of energy, encourage your employees take a walk outside and talk to that colleague about that project rather than sending them another memo or email.
More Inspired Employees
Changes of scenery – and even nature itself – has been shown to trigger new neuro-pathways in the brain which lead to new ideas, and new solutions to problems.
Foster Increased Collaboration.
Walking meetings aren't just for a few people. Larger groups can benefit as well. Unlike traditional meetings in a conference room, where attendees take a seat and often don't move until the meeting is over, mobile meetings give attendees the option of moving freely from one conversation to another. And thanks to the fact that everyone has a smartphone often even meetings that call for presentations can be moved outside.
Change Lives; Your Employees And Your Own
Technology executive Nilofer Merchant shares in her 3-minute TED Talk that when executives and employees walk side-by-side, the hierarchical boundaries are virtually eliminated. In fact, this three minute talk gives you all the reasons why walking meetings are so beneficial for employees, employers and human beings in general:
Integrating Walking Meetings Into Your Company Culture
Despite the benefits, some employees may not embrace the idea of walking meetings. And of course, not every meeting will be appropriate for a walking meeting. But many will, and incorporating walking meetings into you culture is not as hard as you might think. Here though are some considerations to keep in mind as you do.
- Check the weather forecast, and plan accordingly. In areas that don't enjoy great weather all year, and there are many of those, outdoor meetings may often be impossible. However, a walking meeting around the office corridors can be just as effective.
- Time meetings so that they are scheduled for either right before lunch to address the mid-morning slump, or late afternoon to inject a burst of energy.
- Provide healthy beverages and snacks that people can eat and drink during walking meetings with ease. Bottled water, (non candy) trail mix etc are great – and affordable – items to keep stocked.