I gave notice that I was starting walking meetings for 2014 and now that I am three weeks in, it’s time for an update. The first thing that happened was I got a lot of support and encouragement right away, on twitter (check out #walkingmeetings), LinkedIn, via comments on the blog and email. However the most important reaction was from my team, they were very enthusiastic to try it and seem to embrace it wholeheartedly. I have 9 local direct reports and I shifted our weekly 30 minute one to one meetings to walking meetings, we have a beautiful location and climate here in Silicon Valley so getting out there is easy, although I did cancel one meeting when it was windy.
My prime motivation was to get more exercise and my fitbit statistics show I am walking between 4 and 6 miles a day now, up from 2 or 3 miles a day previously.
The meetings seem to be more productive, away from the distractions of interruptions from other people, emails and IM coming in we can actually talk through the issues we need to discuss, think about them clearly and agree on actions. In general each of us jots down the things we want to discuss on a scrap of paper before we set off. I can easily jot a reminder on my smart phone if I have an action I think I might forget. If we need to do something on a computer we just end at my office and spend a few minutes in front of it together, but you would be surprised how little we need this. We are a technology company, the stereotype is of geeks hunched over a computer in a darkened office surrounded by pizza boxes and empty Coke cans, but in reality most of a software engineer’s job is not about physically writing code, it is about solving problems, thinking, discussing, bouncing ideas off each other etc. Getting outdoors now and again is certainly conducive to this creative process.
So these are my early thoughts, more to come as we keep this going and if we ever get any rain this year I will see how I cope with that.