Walking Meetings: Our Experience
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A Team Walk From Philadelphia to New York?
What if I told you that you and your team could effortlessly walk 100+ miles from one city to another? Maybe this idea seems a bit crazy? The reality, however, is that this is exactly the kind of result you will achieve during the year if you replace a team meeting with a walk for about 15 minutes almost every working day instead of sitting.
At a time when the pandemic has given rise to many changing factors in the environment around us and remote working has become normal, it is worth at least considering it.
How the YuMuuv Team Got to the Walking Meetings
On the one hand, one might think that derived from our name, we could say that we have been born on a treadmill since the company was founded. In reality, however, this is far from true. We arrived at the mobile meetings relatively randomly and late. As is typical of IT startups, we had “daily standup” calls at the beginning of each day, where we took a brief overview of the past day and set goals for the new day. The team has been international and on the wave of home offices long before it popped through the covid waves, and for us, it meant the stand-up was a classic sit-down meeting. No one even thought about moving.
However, since I was used to an early schedule myself, before the 9:30 team meeting, I often had several activities already done. It so happened that some of the meetings that had been scheduled before the team meeting lasted a bit longer, which meant that I joined my team meeting with headphones and while riding a bicycle. It was jokingly acclaimed by others to acknowledge an active lifestyle, and in the end, we came up with the idea that the next day we could all be "on the move" and see where it leads.
A Change in the Culture of Meetings
I would be lying if I said that since that day, all the team members (myself included) have only moved at the team meetings (although this is very consistent for many). The fact is, however, that culture has really changed on a large scale, clearly regardless of the weather or other external factors.
If in the past others were apologized for moving during the meeting, now for not moving. Besides, I have discovered that in addition to walking, it is very invigorating to squat during a meeting (to make even fewer excuses for just sitting behind the desk).
Let's imagine that you also have a 15-minute meeting every day, which you could basically do on the go. On average, an employee works for about 47 weeks a year (excluding holidays and possible sick / public holidays). Walking at a leisurely pace (approx. 3 miles per hour), you would cover 160 miles in a year.
This is a pretty impressive distance, especially considering that it is a pure victory of physical activity and without any sweat or gymnastics, without much extra time. Try it and you won't regret it!
Good Health Benefits
We can't put all the exciting ideas into practice, but maybe mobile meetings are still worth it? Knowing that your team is guaranteed at least a quarter of an hour of outdoor walking, it has a clear stress-relieving effect on mental health as well. The effects of physical activity are needless to say.
In addition, my own experience suggests that when everyone else is moving, it is very strange to be still in front of the screen. Your head will start to flicker a little, but it will disappear as soon as you start moving. Thus, culture in a good sense is contagious. To sum up, a small step in one day will bring about a big change in the long run, as you always do with habits.