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.