The Hopeful Demise of the Business Meeting Model

I want to start a movement to shift a specific trend.

A long-standing tradition that forces participants to do one thing I really despise.

Sitting.

You’ve all heard of the “business meeting”, right?

A group of people sitting, sometimes for hours at a time, discussing an event, brainstorming, planning, whatever members of the corporate world do to figuratively increase productivity. Myself included.

Why can’t we shift the trend from lunch meetings to workout meetings instead? Yoga classes. Spinning.  A walk through the park. You can walk and talk right? This is my dream…a sweat-sesh with potential clients instead of an eating-and-sitting-sesh. We aren’t made to sit for long stretches of time. Why do we default to that?

A sweaty tempo run is SO much better, right?

I’ve had about enough of the “sit on a stability ball” and “do calf raises while you’re on the phone” suggestions. While better than nothing, they don’t get to the root of the problem.

Our society is becoming dependent on the computer and the desk. Sitting all day has become the norm. As a girl from Iowa, farming is normal to me. It can be a ROUGH life, let me tell you…but an active one. As a sports management major, sports and exercise are normal to me. Movement has always been my “normal”. My biggest struggle in the corporate world is all the sitting.

First job. See me in the background?! Outdoors, all summer. LOVED this job. Watching Brett sign autographs wasn’t so bad either :)

My second internship. Lots of events. Lots of movement. SO MUCH FUN!

But, I’ve been so lucky thus far.

My new job allows me to go to group practices and races. On Sunday, I’ll be cheering on participants at a Spartan Race – a 5K with obstacles. But for a while, I was turning down any job that involved long periods of time that lacked movement. But why should I have to decline an opportunity to work for a company I love just because I don’t want to sit all day?

Back to my soapbox…

What if we start asking our coworkers or clients to meet for a walk instead of coffee? (I love coffee just as much as the next person. But I love sunshine and getting my blood flowing more.)

Hey, bring it with you if you want!

I would love even more if I could start a FlyWheel corporate spinning session (HOW DO I MAKE THIS HAPPEN) but I’d be happy with a brisk group walk. I’d like to think that the FlyWheel experience would help facilitate bonding between coworkers, even if you don’t get as much talking in. It’s like when you go to happy hour with your work friends…you learn waaay more than you ever would in the office! (Right?!)

Maybe it’s not feasible to do for every meeting – I get that. You can’t collaborate and discuss as well when you’re chatarunga-ing. But I know for certain that some of the meetings on my Outlook calendar can definitely take place in a location other than the conference room.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS!! Okay, maybe you can’t exactly find this in New York City. Central Park is probably your best bet.

The point of my rant is this: we need to focus on the root of the problem. EDUCATION from an early age. Encouraging employees to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Tradition. “How-things-have-always-been-done.” One thing I hate is when people aren’t susceptive to change because things have been done a certain way “forever”.

You probably can’t change the “Balanced Rock” in North Salem, NY, though. It’s been this way for like, a million years.

Let’s change the way we see things. Create opportunities to add movement into our lives. There are tons of incentive programs out there to encourage exercise, but why don’t we encourage people to want to do it for themselves? Lora’s (Crazy Running Girl) blog today made me think of this: Your body and mind are the most precious things you can own, why wouldn’t you take some extra time to ensure you’re doing what’s best for yourself…and others, for that matter? What’s harder: making fitness a priority in your busy lifestyle – treating it as a non-negotiable activity, like Corrie always says – or living through a string of sickness and disease?

Choose your hard.

I challenge you: suggest a walk meeting instead of a conference room meeting this month. See how it goes. Can you logistically make that change happen? If so, go for it. (Just don’t get fired, please!)Who doesn’t love a little extra sunshine? Besides, how many times have you walked to lunch with coworkers and ended up talking business the whole time anyway? Tell me if it works! 

I’m a writer currently living in Los Angeles and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!
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10 Comments

  1. May 31, 2012 / 10:49 pm

    Great post!! I hate sitting at my desk all day, even when I try to get up and walk around the office. I also hate that I feel guilty for going outside for even 15 minutes during lunch… It shouldn’t be a BAD thing to break away for a bit!

    • May 31, 2012 / 10:56 pm

      Yes! The guilt!! Why should we feel guilty?! I need more than just walking to the furthest printer or the further-away water cooler!

  2. May 31, 2012 / 11:04 pm

    OMG YES!!! Super Post! How do we get this in order! I too grew up super active on a farm in upstate I was active through most of college and now sit in a an office 8 hours a day! I hate it! I walk on every lunch hour I can it’s insane! I have gained so much weight at my current job 8 hours of sitting can not be offset by an hour a day workout. People were made to MOVE!

    • June 1, 2012 / 9:50 pm

      Thank you! I totally agree – whether you work out the rest of the day or not, 8 hours of sitting is no bueno! I want to find a way around it!

  3. June 1, 2012 / 9:22 am

    Your job sounds amazing to let you do things like that! Our meetings are sitting based and really so is my job because it’s a tech company. But a lot of people here do go on walks on break and I guess that kind of helps.

    • June 1, 2012 / 9:51 pm

      Do you find that it tightens up your hips for running? My PT was saying she sees a lot of people with hip problems who have desk jobs :(

  4. Hilary
    June 1, 2012 / 3:23 pm

    How can I get a job like that?! Seriously, I’m battling a hamstring tendon injury right now which comes from…you got it…too much sitting during the day! Shortens the tendons…makes them prone to injury. So even though I workout like a madman 6 days a week, it doesn’t offset the damage done by all that sitting. :( I need an active job! Or at least an active company.

    • June 1, 2012 / 9:52 pm

      Hi Hilary! Yes, that’s the problem and I 100% agree…no matter how much working out you do, you can’t offset that damage from sitting.

      Sorry to hear about your hamstring :( I’ve had problems with mine as well!

      We need to shift all companies to be active companies, that’s my goal :)

  5. June 2, 2012 / 11:13 pm

    I hurt my neck last winter (2 bulging discs) and it sidelined me from most exercise for a few months. I thought it was from overexerting myself when I was running. My doctor told me it was 100% from bad posture from sitting at a desk all day even though I have only had a desk job for about 3 1/2 years. He said it is basically an epidemic that people have herniated discs in their backs and necks from this problem.

    I wish I could do this challenge, but I feel that in my line of work it really is unrealistic! Or, that no one will step up and suggest it. I’m not really sure. I know a lot of people feel guilty for going out to lunch for an hour and I definitely get looks for going out but I know that I have to because I cannot sit there all day. It is not healthy and I will not do it! I feel that I put in enough time that I can leave for an hour each day!

  6. June 4, 2012 / 12:52 pm

    I would LOVE a walking meeting!!!! Sometimes Kevin and I walk it out when we have something big to discuss. Definitely clears your head toO!

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