New Ideas While Running – Walking Meetings
Homo sapiens has become Homo sedens – the seated human being. We now sit for an average of 9.3 hours per day. It’s time for a change and for us to bring movement into our work. One way could be walking meetings.
Yes, I am also one of those who do it most of their working day, and yes, I hate it now: sitting. Like many other professionals, my job consists mainly of telephoning, writing e-mails and texts. And all this at my desk in the office. Sometimes I remember that I should get up. I go to the coffee machine, fill up my cup, and then – I’m sitting again.
I realize that it can’t go on like this. Because the medical studies on the subject are frightening. As early as the 1950s, scientists discovered that bus drivers had around twice the risk of heart attack compared to standing conductors. Sitting people have a significantly higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. It’s no wonder: while sitting, our bodies fall into a radical resting mode and consume only 1 calorie per minute.
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That’s why I find all the ideas that aim to bring movement into our working life most intriguing. One concept appealed to me: the Walking Meeting. I guess this can contribute significantly to improving our lives. And it’s so easy to understand.
The Walking Meeting is a walk in the park with a meeting.
And honestly: That’s terrific. Leaders in particular find themselves in constant loops of meetings, conferences and meetings. Sitting, sitting, sitting. Eat, eat, eat. It’s actually almost impossible to remain efficient in this way. And not to become more voluminous and short-winded in an unpleasant way. How disruptive (to stay in management slang) it feels to break out of this pattern and just go for it. There are umpteen arguments why this is a good idea:
- Walking is healthy
- Movement promotes a change of perspective
- Movement increases motivation
- A walk with the team strengthens the sense of community
- There are no interruptions due to screens or smartphones
- The walk makes you creative, as a group of researchers from Standford University has discovered
Well it’s useful to limit the number of meeting participants. If the group is too large, some will rush ahead, others will not come, and not everyone can follow the conversation. Also, walks are not necessarily the best way to make concrete decisions. It is also important to set a specific topic so that the conversation doesn’t get out of hand. Walking meetings work best at Innovation Meetings – when it’s time for new ideas, new perspectives. The blog firstagenda.com has compiled the most important rules:
- No more than 4 participants
- The walk must be appropriate to the occasion.
- An agenda must be set
- The route should be fixed
- No mobile phones
- Participants should be invited beforehand (e.g. with reference to sturdy shoes)
- The concept should be explained
If these points are taken to heart, nothing stands in the way of a successful walking meeting. And finally some movement comes into the job, which we need so much.