This National Walking Month, we explore the benefits of netwalking and how fresh air can bring a fresh perspective to your business
Over the past year, we’ve all embraced walking more than ever before. With outdoor exercise an ever-present and justifiable reason to step foot outside our houses, many of us have turned to hiking to keep ourselves fit and entertained.
Walking is also making its way into our work life. With proven health benefits, here are some top tips for introducing netwalking to your business.
What is netwalking?
Quite simply, netwalking is a meeting held whilst taking a walk! Netwalking encourages people to step away from the office environment and unleash their ideas into the fresh air instead. These al fresco meetings can take place in person or if you’re connecting with someone further away, why not talk on the phone whilst taking a wander outside?
Fun fact: Steve Jobs also loved netwalking and would often take a stroll around the neighbourhood in Cupertino, California during his meetings. You never know what fresh ideas could come from your next netwalk. Maybe the next Apple? We can dream!
What are the benefits of netwalking?
One thing we’ve probably all suffered from during the past few years is Zoom Fatigue. Spending so much time behind our screens can lead to burn-out and a feeling of disconnection from our colleagues. When chatting to work friends, you realise how many of us don’t actually venture outside at all during the working day.
Inc. says “The average worker sits for about 9.5 hours a day – which is 2 hours more per day than sleep” – a shocking statistic!
Netwalking helps to keep employees active and ensures they get some much-needed vitamin D. One recent study showed that walking increased 81% of its participants’ creativity! Not only this, it’s widely known that exercise can help to improve mental health and ease feelings of anxiety and stress.
In her TED Talk on the benefits of walking at work, Behavioural and Learning Scientist, Marily Oppezzo, discusses how taking a step away from the desk can drastically improve brainstorming. In her closing words Marily asks: “Why don’t you grab a leash and take your thoughts for a walk?”
Tips and tricks to nurture netwalking in your business
- Inc. says it’s best to plan a netwalk just before lunch to curb the mid-morning slump, or later on in the afternoon to boost the energy levels of the team. However, it doesn’t need to be a daily occurrence so don’t put too much pressure on yourself!
- Innovation Management highlights that small groups are best suited for this style of meeting. It can be tricky to hold everyone’s attention in a larger team.
- As with all other boardroom meetings, try to prepare a rough agenda to help keep the meeting on track – even if it’s just a couple of talking points.
- It’s also a good idea to plan out your walking route. Try to take a round trip if possible so you don’t backtrack on yourself (or get lost!). Download our walking map guide which provides some simple walking routes starting/ending at Wellington Place.
- According to a report by Udmey about workplace distractions, gossip and small talk accounted for 54% of disruptions in meetings. With this in mind, try to encourage your employees to fully engage with the matter in hand and take a break from checking their phone while netwalking.
One more thing, make sure you check the weather forecast before you venture outside – we all know how unpredictable the British weather can be!