We all know what it’s like. A meeting is called and you can see at least an hour disappear from your day.
Unfocused meetings are a drain on productivity, with research estimating that only 44 per cent of meeting time is actually valuable to a business.
What’s more, the average office worker spends nine hours each week in meetings or preparing for them. When you lose a quarter of your working week to something which may not benefit you, it’s not uncommon to lose motivation. This can then have a negative impact on your engagement and contribution, which will result in the meeting having diminishing returns for the business.
Here’s one idea for making your meetings more focused and efficient: start moving while you hold them. It may sound absurd, but some of the most successful businesspeople of the age swear by it.
Last month, Richard Branson wrote on the benefits of holding meeting on the move, complete with photos of him doing it. Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are also known for their on-the-go approach to meetings, with several chief executives claiming that moving while holding a meeting can shave 25 per cent off the time it goes on for. Here are some tips for trying it yourself.
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Walk and talk
Leaving the office for a walk and talk meeting is a way to have a brief conversation while getting some much needed exercise and fresh air. Evidently, it wouldn’t be productive to hold a five-person walking meeting on a crowded London pavement, but a one-to-one walking meeting can be valuable.
You can cover a lot in this time. It is important to plan your route and potentially go via local hotspots for a change of scenery and to encourage creative thinking. Walking meetings are for building relationships with your colleagues and bouncing ideas around, so if you come up with some good ones, write them down in your phone notes for later.
Standing and stretching
Sitting for too long can cause all sorts of musculoskeletal problems. The only way to avoid such issues is to reduce your sitting time during the day.
Encourage your colleagues to hold a standing meeting to get the team moving away from desks. It’ll increase brain activity and keeps things succinct.
Researchers conducted a study where people replaced two hours of sitting a day with two hours of standing. The results yielded positive changes in important heart disease risk factors, including lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Standing increases your heart rate by an average of 10 beats per minute, burning an extra 50 calories per hour.
People who are more active during the working day experience a 22 per cent increase in fitness and a 70 per cent improvement in their ability to make complex decisions compared to sedentary colleagues.
Rather more extreme, the growing “sweat working” trend includes cycling workouts, golf and running during meetings. You’ll need to iron out the practicalities of actually engaging with one another, but results have shown that 15 per cent of people are likely to have a higher job performance.
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The idea is that, if you’re doing a challenging task, you’re more likely to get to the point, which can help regain valuable time that can be lost from not being concise. And, of course, physical activity positively impacts personal mental wellbeing too. It releases endorphins that can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reduce your risk of stress and strengthen your ability to deal with challenges.