Find the Opportunity to Walk and Talk

sugget a work walk

I’d like to thank Andrew Kaikkonen and the Lovers atWork Office Furniture team for inspiring this post and the outcomes in it.  Excellent people, ideas, and furniture solutions, in case you’re in the market!

A few months ago, I suggested meeting for coffee and Andrew asked I’d be up for a walk instead.  The idea had been circulating around the atWork office and he had just had a great walk experience.  I enthusiastically took him up on the offer and we spent an hour navigating the roads and paths near their showroom.    

Since then, I’ve been looking for opportunities to suggest “work walks” and it’s always met with the same amount of enthusiasm I had for Andrew’s suggestion.  In a world where it feels near impossible to “fit it all in,” the opportunity to combine exercise with a regular work activity is almost always welcomed.  I’ve had great conversations in nearby parks while getting exercise, fresh air, and Vitamin D. 

Are there opportunities for you to suggest a work walk?

A walking meeting can work for a variety of situations, including regular one-on-ones or even conversations you expect might get heated.  One feature a walking meeting offers is the ability to talk side-by-side, rather than face-to-face.  Dr. Audrey Nelson reports in Psychology Today that side-by-side conversations can increase comfort levels, particularly in men.  By eliminating direct eye contact, you may create a space where people feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts or challenges or reduce stress in a high-conflict situation.    

Walking can also work for phone or even video calls, provided you can find a quiet spot. 

Granted, the walking meeting is weather dependent, so you’ll want to have a backup location planned.  Additionally, it may not work well when you need to take or access notes, although you can do a lot with your phone, particularly if you’re comfortable with the voice features.  In some cases, I’ve finished the walk with a stop at a table, which allows for rest, some face-to-face conversation, and making some notes.        

I hope you’re able to find an opportunity to take a walk with the people you lead, the people who lead you, your colleagues, or other work partners.  And if you’re looking for a walking partner – let me know!