The Future of Work: Active Meetings

Meetings are the backbone of the working day for many professions. I can summarise the majority of the meetings I’ve attended as follows:

  • Short meetings
  • Long meetings
  • Productive meetings
  • Complete waste of my time meetings

What do all the above meetings have in common?

I was sitting on my backside for all of them. That is something I believe is worth changing.

The Future of Work

The future of work is a hot topic right now and something I’m very interested in. How we work in 10 years’ time will look a lot different from how we work today. One thing we can be sure of however is that meetings (in some shape or form) are here to stay.

Seeing as meetings are here for the long haul, I propose giving them an overhaul! Let’s get off our backsides and make meetings more active. Activity at the workplace is a great way to increase morale, employee energy, and team work. Including active time at work is especially important for professionals that spend a lot of their days seated. Prolonged sedentary time increases the chance of developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Daily bouts of movement can reduce these risks.

Active meetings increase focus and cognitive performance and can therefore play a positive role in the future of work. Here are a few suggestions to keep your meeting participants “on their toes”:

Standing Meetings

I’m a big fan of standing meetings. Standing is healthier than sitting so that’s benefit number one. You should also find that stand up meetings in general are shorter than regular meetings. People seem to get to the point a lot quicker and there’s usually very little time wasting. Can you introduce or suggest stand up meetings at your workplace?

There’s no additional cost involved to facilitate the meetings. You don’t even need a table or chairs, just a floor space large enough to accommodate the participants. If you have the technology then there’s no reason why a conference call or a GoToMeeting style online meeting wouldn’t work while standing.  It’s also a great option for short catch up team meeting at the beginning or end of the day.

It’s not exactly revolutionary but it can add a fun element to the work environment as well as a health focus.

Walking Meetings

Active meetings and the future of work

According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, walking can lead to creative thinking, which is something we could all use during important work meetings. Walking meetings create an opportunity for people to get away from their computer and enjoy a change of scenery.

If the concept is new to you, a walking meeting is simply that, a short meeting where attendees walk around the block, or even around the floor or office. Walking meetings are ideal for one to one updates, brainstorming sessions, or discussing priorities for the week ahead. In its simplest form, it can be a stroll to the coffee shop with a colleague, catching up on work related tasks as you go.

Employees may feel uneasy formally suggesting walking meetings on their own. If the management team lead by example however, less senior staff will feel more comfortable following suit. This type of meeting is typically only viable with a small number of participants, and you should make sure that everyone agrees to it before you commence. Not everyone is enamoured by the idea of physical activity.

Those that participate regularly in walking meetings, claim that it helps create a more honest and productive dialogue.

Workout Meetings

This type of meeting will NOT be for everyone!

Workout meetings encourage people to move around and get fit while meeting up for business. As you might expect, these meetings don’t take place in standard meeting rooms. Instead of appointments in the office or boardroom, they take place at a gym or a suitable on site space while you’re working up a sweat.

“Sweatworking” as it’s been dubbed is growing in popularity, particularly in the U.S although some Irish companies are getting on board. Fitbit for example, have kitted out a meeting room at their Dublin office with treadmill desks facing each other, ideal for one to one meetings or small team gatherings.

If sweating profusely in front of your boss or colleagues doesn’t sound appealing you can always opt for a much lighter form of workout. Stretching and yoga style sessions can be just as rewarding as a full on gym workout. Companies can enable this type of workout meeting by providing the necessary space, materials (yoga mats, foam rollers, resistance bands etc.) and support for physical activities in meeting areas. 

benefits of workout meetings in the workplace

A workout meeting gets you into a new headspace and out of your comfort zone. Of course, it won’t always work — it's not appropriate for really important meetings. Sometimes you need things like meeting minutes, a presentation, or an environment where you can focus only on the task at hand.

This type of meeting really is redefining the "workout" by allowing people to work out together while actually working. This is one type of meeting that really has to be led from the top!


The way we work is changing. What people expect from their employer has changed dramatically in the last number of years. A solid job with a pension scheme doesn’t cut it any more. The employee of today is just as interested in flexible working arrangements, the social impact they can make and a work environment that supports a healthy lifestyle as they are in salary and bonus.

The onus is on employers and recruiters to meet these demands. The oft mentioned millennial generation know what they want and they have opportunities and career choices like no generation has had previously. High on their job search priority list is an employer that genuinely cares about their health and wellness.

Active meetings can be a fun addition to the wellness strategy of any organisation. With Ireland’s National Workplace Wellbeing Day taking place on April 13th this year, businesses across the country are being asked to dedicate time to healthy and fun activities for employees.

What better time to introduce active meetings into your workplace?

Yours in health,


P.S I love talking about health and wellbeing so drop me a line to discuss any of the above. I'd be happy to support your business with their wellness objectives.

Contact me directly with any questions you may have:

The Low Down

Brian Crooke is a wellness consultant and speaker specialising in the design, improvement and auditing of wellness initiatives for Irish businesses. He is the founder of Office Worker Health, a platform dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace.

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