A few weeks back I attended a wellness committee meeting as a client. It was a pleasant 65 degree, early spring day in Northern Wisconsin. Days of this temperament are far and few between this time of the year. Instead of sitting lifelessly around a conference table, all ten attendees decided to take to the sidewalk for discussion. I was a bit skeptical heading out for a walk-and-talk meeting with a group of this size, but in the end I was pleasantly surprised at how it played out; nearly every individual participated in the conversation and did so in a meaningful way.There has been a lot of research regarding the detriments of sitting all day at work, some of which claim it to be as deadly as smoking. However similar to smoking, sitting at work is a choice we make every day. Interrupting the workday with short periods of movement or stretching can make you a more productive employee according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Walk-and-talk meetings demonstrate this concept and allow you to increase your daily activity while remaining a productive employee in the process.
It is my opinion that walk-and-talk meetings should be implemented whenever possible in the work place. These type of meetings offer not only the physical movement as a benefit, but these meetings can eliminate distractions such as cell phones, tablets, and emails. The limit of these distractions combined with the increased blood flow to the brain has been shown to increase overall mood and creativity. According to a study in the journal of experimental psychology, walking allows us to let our subconscious guard down, in a sense forcing ideas that may have normally been earmarked to become part of the general discussion1.
The downfall is that walk-and-talk meetings are not always a possibility; sometimes you need to conference team members from outside offices, draw plans on a whiteboard, or host a confidential meeting with a team member. If you determine this occurs frequently at your workplace, attempt to implement a standing meeting. Standing meetings are exactly as they sound: have everyone in the room stand instead of sitting.
How do you feel about walk-and-talk or standing meetings? Do you find them to be more or less productive?