“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking,” famously observed Friedrich Nietzsche. It’s a declaration being tested by the increasing number of office workers who are choosing to conduct walking meetings.
For companies looking to boost wellbeing among their staff, the walking meeting is one option in a growing arsenal of ideas to help improve not just the physical but mental wellbeing and resilience of employees.
Reports suggest it’s not just the implicit health benefits which come from walking, but that the action of getting out in the open and walking side-by-side stimulates creative thinking, more personable interactions and better outcomes than meetings held across a board table or in a coffee shop.
People prone to multi-tasking stay more engaged on the discussion and use their devices less during walking meetings, and senior management as well as employees believe walking encourages more honest engagement, and breaks down hierarchical barriers.
In Australia, absenteeism accounts for more than 88 million days of lost productivity for business. For small and medium sized businesses, the NSW government suggest that adds up to more than $100,000 per business over five years.
But presenteeism, the phenomenon of workers being physically present but mentally and emotionally detached, is an even greater issue, and one that is spurring forward-thinking organisations to make wellbeing programs their priority.