Everyone knows that regular walking is good for your health. But Australian executive Di Westaway argues that leaders who walk outdoors with their employees gain a “superpower” in the workplace: better engagement and productivity rates. According to a Stanford University study, an individual’s creative output can increase by an average of 60% during a walk.
In an article published in ‘The CEO Magazine’, the CEO of Coastrek, a company that organizes hikes and marathons for executives, points out that business leaders such as Apple’s Steve Jobs and Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg understand the power of walking to drive creativity and innovation.
“Many leaders grapple with how to motivate staff, drive innovation and foster creativity in the workplace. Smart leaders also want teams who are healthy, happy, motivated and connected, because they know what’s good for their people is good for their business.”, she says.
Reasons why walking is good for business
- Boosts brain power
- Improves concentration
- Enhances creative thinking
- Facilitates communication and collaboration
- Reduces stress
- Reduces distractions
- Improves mental health
- Boosts immunity
- Improves physical health
For leaders who find it hard to get their teams out of the office to flank during the workday or lunch hour, Di Westaway teaches how to include the activity in the workday. “Making the habit part of the routine and embedding a walking culture in the organization requires commitment,” she warns.
Tips to get started
Lead by example
“Start by holding your weekly leadership one-on-one meetings as walkie-talkies. Always circulate an agenda beforehand and follow up with a record of discussion. This is also recommended during the hiring process.”
“Create a culture of walking meetings to replace the coffee chat or the sitting meeting when you’re meeting with one or two others. Ensure staff have time to prepare, so they’re wearing comfortable shoes and have a pre-circulated agenda to keep focused on the issues.”
Encourage group walking
“There’s nothing like a group walk to enhance connection, boost communication and unite teams. Organize weekly group or team walks before work, during lunch breaks or after work. This can make walking more enjoyable and social, improves mood, team bonding and helps with accountability.”
Make it easy
“Provide maps of local parks, walking routes and green spaces and encourage staff to take thought walks and walkie talkies during work time to brainstorm problems.”
“Offer incentives such as free entry to local endurance walking events and encourage leaders within your organization to get their teams involved. You can also provide step counters, fitness trackers or even invest in your own corporate walking program.”
Create a culture of wellness
“Encourage a culture of wellness in the workplace by providing healthy snacks such as a fruit bowl, nuts, seeds, filtered water and herbal tea. Provide periodic health checks, organize walking challenges and promote a healthy work–life balance regularly.”
Source: Stanford | The CEO Magazine