Meetings – in offices, conference rooms, or coffee shops. We’ve all done that. But have you ever tried walking meetings? In the company building, outdoors, or in another surroundings?
In mid-2015, SEEbtm conducted a study about holding meetings outside the office, while taking a walk – the so-called walking meetings – among companies in the South East European region.
Walking meetings – PROS
According to the study, 66.7% of those who were interviewed reported that they have never tried this kind of meetings. However, out of all survey respondents who have tried this form of meetings, 33.3% of them gave positive feedback.
[quote_left]I’ve never tried it, but I would like it if more people would prefer this form of meetings.[/quote_left]
They believe that meetings held outdoors contribute to feeling relaxed and better mood and communication during the meeting, in addition to being more dynamic in comparison with the typical static setting.
They assert that they feel much more pleasant and free, and that everything on the agenda gets done considerably faster and has much higher quality. There are no redundant monologues or dialogues coming from comfy armchairs.
Still, for these meetings to be successful, they have to be specific and concise. As one fault, the people who have tried these meetings cite the difficulties in taking notes and the observation that some participants have troubles with following entire conversations or lectures when they are outside their standard environment.
They also note that it is not always simple to get all of the participants interested in walking during the seminar.
As for those who have never tried this form of meetings, 52% would like to try them out, while the rest gave the opposite response, mainly because they believe that these meetings are doomed to be of poor quality and that this is something that management decides on.
[quote_right]Morning stretching in front of the desk or in a designated space, light yoga, exercise during breaks – these are just some of the respondents’ suggestions.[/quote_right]
Likewise, we also took notice that company employees who have never attended such meetings would be quite willing to give them a try, while employees working in the hotel sector (hotels or agencies) would be less open to this.
An interesting fact is that out of those who have never tried walking meetings, as much as 58% have never tried them because the idea never even entered their mind. Thirty percent of the interviewed pointed out that they would try them now that they got an idea that they would like to implement.
Walking meetings – CONS
The study found that 24% of respondents cited the extra amount of time that such meetings would take, and they believe that it would be impossible for them to be efficient in this way. They also mentioned inadequate space and location of their offices as some of the reasons against this type of meetings.
Being misunderstood and disapproval by their superiors were cites as some of the reasons by 10% of the polled, while 8% of them think that this form of meetings seems too personal, and therefore inappropriate, so they would not want to mix business and pleasure.
Exercise outside office hours and/or at the company
Out of all survey respondents, 20% of them do not practice any form of physical activities. Others (80%), who stated that they do exercise, but mainly outside office hours, most frequently specified workouts and gym sessions, followed by pilates, yoga, swimming, running, power walking, walking, mountaineering, tennis, and cycling.
A positive surprise is the high percentage of those who mentioned that they do undertake some form of exercise.
Some of the mentioned company activities are company-organised team buildings, field trips, and spa weekends. However, very few respondents (25%) specified that their company makes the effort to organise such activities for their employees.
[quote_box_center]Meetings held outdoors contribute to feeling relaxed and better mood and communication, in addition to being more dynamic in comparison with the typical static setting. Respondents assert that they feel much more pleasant and free, and that everything on the agenda gets done considerably faster and has much higher quality.[/quote_box_center]
Another observation is that not a single respondent mentioned that they have the option to get involved in an activity or a form of recreation during office hours or breaks on regular work days. Most companies in the region still seems to be far from the Google concept.
Suggestions for companies – What activities should they offer their employees?
If you’re wondering what activities you should introduce for your employees, the best you can do is ask them. We have, and here’s what employees at regional companies told us.
Most survey respondents had positive reactions to the possibility of introducing recreational activities at companies where they work. The respondents even feel that it is necessary for companies to give as much attention as possible to organising and designing additional activities for employees.
As much as half of the survey participants links the possibility of introducing recreational activities at companies to team building. Organising team activities outdoors, sports games, and spa weekends are the most common answers of the respondents in relation to employee activities.
Team spirit and strengthening relationships among employees, as the objectives of collective activities, are another example of the most frequent answers.
As little as 13% of the survey respondents believe that their company should introduce some form of light exercise during office hours. Morning stretching in front of the desk or in a designated space, light yoga, exercise during breaks – these are just some of the respondents’ suggestions. These would be optional for employees.
[quote_left]We do not have any kind of recreational activities during office hours. Although, some ideas were floating around regarding such things.[/quote_left]
A very small percentage of the respondents feel that companies should come up with some activities that their employees could opt for during or outside office hours. Some of the suggestions were setting up designated rooms where employees could chose fitness programmes, pilates, various fun sports activities like foosball, table tennis, or the like.
These ideas were given by the respondents employed with large-scale companies, which have the means to implement such suggestions. In addition, these types of activities have positive effects on employees interacting amongst themselves and team spirit.
The study showed that 17% of the polled respondents feel that companies should cover the costs or provide discounts on fitness or sports activities of their choice that employees would practice outside office hours. Swimming pool cards or monthly gym membership cards represent the most common suggestions.