Walk With Me: The Benefits of Taking Your Meeting Outside

November 01, 2016

 

Too often, it’s easy to spend entire workday indoors, glued to your computer and mobile devices. Getting outside for a quick break can sometimes feel like recess, and you may believe that you’re not allowed that given your “status” as “accomplished professional”. That said, you also know how inspiring it is to gather with colleagues in non-traditional ways, and you know how great it feels to spend time outdoors during the day. It’s time to trust your gut on this one. Studies have shown that getting outside for a quick 15-minute break can improve productivity, reduce stress and even increase workplace happiness. That’s where the walking meeting comes into play.

It’s a simple premise really. Instead of booking a 30-minute meeting with colleagues in a conference room, grab your sunglasses, some comfortable shoes and head outdoors! Chances are, your workplace community even has a walking map you can use to map your route!

The mind-body connection, which considers that when physical activity is engaged your brain is more open to ideating and thought, has been proven by researchers to show improvement in creative thought and general cognition. In addition, meeting productivityimproves when you go outside. The outdoors can spark more creative thoughts, ideas flow freely, and it’s more likely that your employees will be open to sharing creative ideas they might have otherwise been reluctant to mention.

Ready to try a walking meeting? Here are some best practices we’ve put together for you to keep in mind.

  • Keep the group size small: We’d advise no more that 4 people if you’re going to get outside for your meeting. It encourages a free-flowing, idea-sharing experience that could get lost the more people are added to your group.
  • Inform your colleagues! This one is probably the most important to keep in mind. None of your co-workers want to spend 30 minutes walking outside in uncomfortable footwear, so when you send out the request make sure you’re clear that this is a walking meeting. Then your colleagues are able to bring a change of shoes, put on sunblock, etc.
  • Map your route: To keep things efficient, make sure that you map out your route before your meeting commences. Keep in mind that your co-workers may not know where they’re going, so it will pay off – and keep your meeting flowing nicely.
  • Limit the use of smartphones: Advise your colleagues that they should simply leave their phones behind. If you all feel as though you’re actually unplugging it will free your mind up for some fresh ideas and inspiration to make this meeting very productive.
  • Keep it short: We would recommend keeping your meeting to 30-minutes, it’s the perfect amount of time to enjoy our Coastal California climate! If you need more time, Irvine Company’s Vibrant Workplace Communities offer areas outside where you can sit and continue the discussion without disrupting the flow.

These are just a few ideas, but ultimately the benefits of hosting a walking meeting outweigh any of the pitfalls. So what’s stopping you?

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