Boost productivity and health with walking meetings*
One important way to break up the time we spend sitting at work is to hold walking meetings. A recent study by Oppezzo and Schwartz at Stanford concluded that walking, either outside or even on a treadmill, led to significant increases in creativity.
There’s also evidence that moving meetings can increase alertness, raise employee productivity, and boost employee connection and engagement.
Of course, not all meetings are a good fit for walking. When deciding whether a walking meeting is a good idea, it’s important to take into consideration the goal of the meeting, how recording and follow-up will be handled, and the number of participants.
Sit Tech to the Rescue
- Walking meetings work best when the participants know each other and the structure and desired outcomes are clear. These types of meetings might include:
- One-on-one coaching
- Progress checks on projects
- Weekly team meetings
- Notify participants ahead of time so they can wear appropriate shoes and be mentally prepared.
- Limit group size.
- David Haimes, a senior director of product development at Oracle, recommends a maximum of three to five participants, so everyone can hear and contribute.
- Schedule meetings at times when your associates need an energy boost to counteract predictable cognitive slumps such as before lunch or in mid-afternoon.
- Use cell phones or other devices to record the meeting
- Assign someone to summarize the outcomes and share the results.
- Pause occasionally while walking to allow time to record.
- Plan your route, indoors or out to avoid noise, traffic and other distractions.
- Keep it short. Walking meetings should focus on a specific outcome that can be accomplished in 15 to 30 minutes.
- A walking meeting may not be the best choice if:
- Convergent thinking such as reaching consensus is needed.
- Conflict is expected.
- Printed documents or a white board will be used.
When a walking meeting is not appropriate, using a standing conference table can provide some of the same benefits. While extended standing can be as harmful as sitting all day, standing for a focused 15 to 20 minute meeting can be beneficial.
Here’s an example of standing conference tables.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with walking meetings. Contact
We’ll return next month with more tips on using mindfulness, posture, movement and conscious habit formation to increase health, happiness and productivity.
* Always listen to your body. – If it hurts, don’t do it! – Consult with a health professional about performing any activities mentioned in these tips. Sit Tech does not offer medical advice and is not responsible for use of its tips.