Why your next work meeting should be a ‘walk-and-talk’

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(Saulo Mohana, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sean Fleming, Senior Writer, Formative Content


If you’ve worked in an office environment, you’ll probably be aware of how easily just a few meetings can eat into your time.

Some meetings are important, of course. If you need to convey information to a group of people in a time-sensitive manner, for example. But not all meetings are created equal, and the familiar fall-back of getting a group of people to sit around a conference table isn’t always the best way to solve problems or generate ideas.

Meetings also compound the problem of spending hour-after-hour sitting down, which increases the risks of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and depression.

Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

So how about shaking things up and taking your work into the great outdoors? There are lots of great reasons why you should – and here are just a few.

Fresh air boosts creativity

According to an old adage, if you keep doing the same thing over-and-over you shouldn’t expect to see different results. Conversely, the simple act of talking through a tricky problem with a colleague while walking outdoors can put a new spin on things.

By forcing yourself to engage and interact with a different environment, your thought processes will shift, too – and just 10 or 15 minutes spent outdoors can deliver a measurable improvement to your psychological health, studies have shown.

You’ll make every meeting count

We spend far more time in meetings now than our office-based contemporaries did in the 1960s; senior managers attend around 23 hours of meetings every week, up from just 10 hours a week. And that’s just an average – if you work for larger organizations, chances are you get invited to more meetings than workers in smaller firms.

Taking your meetings outside could help you think more about how your time is being spent and prioritise work more effectively. Making a conscious decision to throw your jacket on and hold a “walk-and-talk” might prompt you to think twice before accepting yet another conference room meeting request.

 

It really is good for you

Obesity, elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol levels are all health problems associated with spending too much time sitting. If your office chair isn’t very supportive or your desk is the wrong height for you, you can add a range of musculoskeletal problems to the list, too.

Instead, we should all get up and move around more. If you’re able to combine an outdoor walk with a few coworkers and tackle some agenda points while you’re at it, you’ll be multitasking like an absolute champion – staying healthy, remaining productive and feeling more energized.

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