Are walking meetings the future of the workplace?
How to increase the creativity and wellbeing of your team? Serial entrepreneur Gregoire Vigroux highlights the benefits of walking meetings and shares some useful tips on how to use this instrument efficiently.
The pandemic has led many companies to rethink how they work. At bonapp.eco, we have adopted a new form of meetings: walking meetings.
Drawing inspiration from the practices of various philosophers, including Nietzsche, walking meetings stimulate participants’ creativity and wellbeing, as well as being good for the health.
A panacea for health
We sit down for an average of 8 to 10 hours a day. This sedentary lifestyle can bring on – often rapidly – back pain and raise blood pressure.
Sitting slows blood circulation, which decreases the oxygen supply to the brain and can impair concentration.
According to a study by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in the UK, sitting down too often and for too long doubles the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular ailments.
To stay healthy, the World Health Organization recommends we take 10,000 steps a day, which works out at over 60 minutes of walking. One well-known benefit of walking meetings is weight loss. On average, an adult burns between 250 and 300 calories in one hour of walking.
As well as keeping us healthy, walking meetings also help improve our mental health, reducing stress, anxiety and the risk of depression.
Boosting creativity and productivity
According to the study The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking, by the University de Stanford, walking increases creativity by 60%, and is therefore recommended for strategic meetings and brainstorming sessions.
During walking meetings, conversations that could be awkward are less intimidating. Participants don’t find themselves face to face, because they are moving at the same pace in the same direction. Hierarchical relations recede. Conversations are more open and people speak more freely.
Walking meetings are also known as “active meetings” because the participants are in motion. This facilitates less boring and more dynamic discussion.
Practical advice for successful walking meetings
Walking meetings benefit from some planning. Quiet streets with wide pavements, or even parks or forests, are the best option so participants can enjoy contact with nature.
Advise attendees to wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes. Also remember to check the weather. Welcome your guests with a coffee or a bottle of water.
Walking meetings work best with two or three people. Any more than that, and conversation becomes complicated.
Finally, walking meetings work for videoconferences as well as face-to-face meetings, as long as everyone has a good headset and internet connection.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking,” wrote Nietzsche. Not only do walking meetings foster increased creativity and serenity, they are also an effective way to maintain good health.
During this pandemic period, when businesses have been forced to reinvent themselves and individuals are paying more attention to their health than ever before, walking meetings look set to become increasingly popular.
All that remains is to suggest to your colleagues or partners that your next meeting be a walking meeting. If they are not convinced, show them this post!
Grégoire Vigroux is a French Serial Entrepreneur and Business Angel, based in Romania since 2006. He co-founded and invested in 21 businesses across Eastern Europe - including Romania-Insider.com - and had 4 exits.
Grégoire believes entrepreneurs have an increasing role to play in shaping a meaningful world. He thinks success, in business, must come with responsibility. Profits with purpose. Growth with progress. Prosperity with philanthropy.