Walk This Way


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Annie Tudryn, Workplace Transformation | A&D Market Manager

For so many of us, returning to the office means scrubbing some of the bad habits picked up while working from home i.e. multitasking during video calls, unhealthy snacking, and way too much screen time. However, there is one healthy habit that I have fully embraced upon my return to work – the walking meeting. During the past year, I have discovered the benefits while on my daily strolls. As someone who lives in a small city apartment, walking outside became a staple of my day. While most of the time I would chat on the phone, a few times I met up with coworkers and had socially distanced walking meetings.





Immediately, I found these meetings to be more enjoyable - they helped me unplug. I wasn’t looking at my second monitor or reading text messages on my phone; I was present and alert. There were also the immediate wellness benefits – fresh air, access to nature, and physical activity. I got my steps in while enjoying the outdoors. Yet, the biggest benefit was that I was much more engaged, honest, and productive during these walking meetings.

Curiously, I began exploring the research behind walking meetings. It turns out that walking meetings enhance our creative thinking. It’s true! When we walk, our brains release chemicals that make us more relaxed (nature triggers stress reduction, lowering our heart rate and blood pressure) and aid our executive function. This increases mental sharpness and cognitive function, better positioning us to focus on a task and to problem-solve effectively. Another additional bonus - these positive effects can occur in as little as five minutes of walking.

When coworkers are walking side-by-side the conversation is more peer-to-peer than when seated across the desk in the boss’ office. Walking meetings break down organizational hierarchies. One Tech Executive noted that the walking meeting is a micro-version of the bonding that takes place when we travel with our coworkers on business trips.






Not every meeting can be a walking meeting. Meetings that require technology, whiteboards, documenting of ideas, etc. need to be surrounded by the resources necessary to make them productive, and some meetings such as intense negotiations need to be face-to-face. However, I challenge you to embrace the walking meeting as you return to the office. Walking meetings, while ideally are held outdoors, can also take place indoors. Workplaces with well-designed circulation paths provide employees with a quick, impromptu walking track that is helpful when weather is not ideal.

It’s important to note that not all workers will embrace this model. Strategically, these meetings should be small, 1 - 4 people and should be suggested - with the understanding that declining is permissible. It’s best not to include a stop for coffee/beverage or any take-out as it’s important for the communication to be devoid of distractions. That being said, having a specific destination can be helpful. For example, my Teknion office in Boston is located right next to the aquarium, Boston Harbor, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. These destinations provide a rationale and incentive to go for a walk. My co-workers and I are lucky to have these attractions in close proximity and going for a walk is an easy decision.






One final comment: Have fun, enjoy the experience of combining work with a bit of exercise and fresh air.

Photo Credit: Amy Rodriguez, Showroom Manager, Boston



SAP AG - Teknion Case Study

Annie Tudryn

Workplace Transformation | A&D Market Manager


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