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The Walking 1:1 Meeting

This is such a simple concept. So simple, yet so effective.

I have done walking 1:1 meetings with members of my respective teams for quite a few years. The distances vary but I would estimate that on average we cover 2.5 miles per meeting. At present I do roughly eighty walking 1:1 meetings a year, which means I walk around 200 miles. 200 miles at 100 calories per mile = 20000 calories burned in a year during meetings alone.

Aside from the obvious health benefits, there are other upsides to walking 1:1 meetings. I find it is easier to find creative and innovative solutions to problems whilst walking. Some people find it easier to express themselves whilst moving outdoors. Walking can make meetings more productive and when your legs are moving and the blood is flowing, you can get in to a good headspace about the issues in hand. Being outdoors can also sometimes be a more comfortable setting to broach sensitive or difficult issues as opposed to being in the office environment. It also provides a good opportunity to explore your work environment, bump into other colleagues along the way, and generally to physically keep in touch with your workplace.

People often ask how we write things down and make a record of actions and follow-up points if we’re walking. Well, we prepare. I ask any staff member I have a walking 1:1 with to send me some notes with any updates or discussion topics in advance, so there is a record before we have started. Sometimes we physically stop during a walking 1:1 to write things down, and often we purposefully save 15 minutes of the allotted hour to be back in the office to make a record of any new issues / actions that we resolved to undertake during the walk, as well as to discuss anything that might require a screen.

Sometimes, clearly, 1:1 discussions need to be conducted in an office with access to relevant equipment and information, but more often than not, the majority of the discussion can be had on the move.

They’re not for everyone, not everyone can do them, and I always ensure each time that it is the choice of the colleague whose 1:1 it is, rather than imposing it on people. I also enjoy a chat over a cup of tea in my office as well, so I get the best of both worlds in my working week!

If you’re wondering whether it will work for you and your boss why not ask them what they think? Remember to wear comfy shoes and to have an umbrella – members of my team are much better than me at remembering the latter!




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