Eight Ways to Create a Walk and Talk Culture

By Jane Sparrow

Statistics show that during the latest lockdown in the UK, 40 percent of people are exercising less than they were in the previous two, with people opting for a Netflix session over a workout. 

With energy levels challenged and resilience being tested to the max, it’s really easy to understand why this is the case. Of course, we also all know that staying active is crucial to tackling both of the aforementioned. 

Something we’ve really been shouting from the rooftops about lately is walking and talking. We’re all doing more Zooms than ever, in many instances without breaks in-between. Swapping out one or two of those each week for a walk and talk instead can work wonders on every level. 

As part of our Walk and Talk campaign, here are eight things you can do to literally create movement with your team – you will not regret it! 

1. Regular screen-free meetings 

We recently joined one of our key clients at their weekly team meeting to talk about ‘unplugging’, which for that week, they had decided to make it a screen-free one. They gave people the option to move away from their desks, sit in their favourite chair, make their lunch, or walk whilst listening. As this was an all-staff meeting it meant that everyone was on the move for 45 minutes, a solid way to ensure people were moving at least once that week. 

2. Planning ahead

How many video calls do you have that really could be done over the phone? Take a look at your diary for this week and find one call that can be converted to a walk and talk meeting. Embark on an act of kindness and encourage the other person or persons to do the same – a mood booster for all of you!

3. Team challenges

I’ve previously talked about the benefits of encouraging everyone to take on a team physical challenge, and a walking challenge is a great way to do this. Recently we have heard of people joining together to walk to India or Canada, for charitable or other reasons. If your team is small, you could even start with a hundred-mile challenge. Racking up the miles whilst on your team call is a great idea too and everyone reporting back on progress every week keeps the motivation high! 

4. Scavenger hunts 

A scavenger hunt is a fun way to make walking a little more exciting. Create one that’s right for your team, whether you are all based in a town, a rural area, a city or even shielding and therefore walking around the house/garden. Making sure there’s something for everyone regardless of their situation creates a real team feel. 

5. Beat the 3pm slump 

We all know that 3pm is the time our energy dips – one of the reasons we experience this is that we have been sitting still for too long. A great way to combat this is to go outside, get some fresh air and move. Do you have a 3pm video call that can be moved to audio-only? Galvanize the team around the 3pm slump and all get outside. 

6. Getting to know you

Challenge everyone in the team to take a walk each day and send a picture of something interesting that they have seen. You’ll end up with an album full of images of cities, countryside fields, wildlife, views from people’s homes and so much more. Great talking points in your team get together. 

7. Create natural stopping points

One of the most talked about topics of our 2020 & 2021 workshops so far is unplugging. Although we all know how vital it is to switch off, move regularly and eat properly, research shows that over half of UK workers aren’t taking a proper lunch break. A 20-minute walk and talk could well be the solution to remaining productive whilst getting outside and breathing in some fresh air – even if it’s just to the garden, balcony or an open window. 

8. Lead by example 

If you’re a leader or line manager, probably the most important thing of all is to think about what you’re up to and the tone that sets for the team who work around you. Do you schedule back to back meetings with no break? Do you ensure you unplug and get your people to do the same? Do you encourage movement and fresh air and schedule walk and talks with your team? If you do, they will follow.

There’s no doubt that the ongoing pandemic is having a massive impact on people’s mental wellbeing across the globe – so self-care is vital. The simple act of going outside every day helps to reduce anxiety, improve our mood and clear our minds – and it’s something we can all do, in some way, however small. 

Walking and talking isn’t just for lockdown. Kick off your own Walk and Talk campaign today for the long term – and we’d love to hear about the results.