How to hold a productive meeting – it’s time to get moving

We’ve all been in business meetings where we’re clock watching and wondering how long it will go on for, worrying about our to-do lists which are not getting any shorter. This is especially true in start-ups, where time is especially precious for everybody in a small team..

When it comes to meetings, especially internal ones, it can be difficult to enforce the discipline needed to get the most out of them. This includes starting and finishing on time and sticking to the agenda. Meetings should have a purpose and a definite outcome, otherwise they can be an unproductive use of time for all involved.

What’s more, poor meetings aren’t only wasting our valuable time, they are also having an impact upon our bodies. Research has shown that spending long hours sitting down can play a significant role in the development of chronic diseases, so it’s imperative that you, as an employer, implement changes to protect the health, wellbeing and productivity of your employees.

It’s time to transform the standard routine and be more creative and active with work meetings, not only to breathe more life into them, but reinvigorate your colleagues too. Here’s how you can achieve more from meetings, eliminate wasted time, improve your health and potentially have some fun in the process:

1. Sweat working

The growing ‘sweat working’ trend includes cycling workouts, running and even planking in meetings. A study, published in the London Journal of Physiology, has proven that exercise increases brain power.

Consequently, ‘sweat working’ enables higher job performance and increase in team productivity because you get to the point, which can help regain valuable time that can be lost from not being concise.

It has been proven that, on average, us Brits have more of a sedentary lifestyle than an active one – spending up to 6 hours a day sitting and not doing any movement or exercise. Therefore, ‘sweat working’ could help boost your productivity whilst helping your figure simultaneously.

2. Walk and talk

This is a new trend which is being used worldwide, and is a great way to have a brief conversation while getting some much needed exercise. Recent research finds that the act of walking leads to an increase in creative thinking, which can be key in a start-ups looking for innovative ways to get ahead.

However, it’s important to plan your route and potentially go via local hotspots for a change of scenery. Of course, it wouldn’t be productive to hold a 5 person walking meeting on a busy street, but keeping to a one-to-one walking meeting can be valuable. You can cover a lot of work in this time, so use it to brainstorm new business ideas or build on team morale.

3. Standing and stretching

Sitting for too long can cause all sorts of musculoskeletal problems; the only way to avoid such issues is to reduce your sitting time during the day. Not only this, but one of the largest pieces of research to date which involved 800,000 people found that sitting for too long can also cause a 147% increase in cardiovascular events.

There are ways to avoid the risk of developing these health issues by encouraging your colleagues to hold a standing meeting. This activity gets the team moving away from their desks or workstations, while increasing brain activity and keeping things succinct.

Another simple way is to stretch at your desk and not hold the same working position for too long, helping you feel revived and re-energised for work.

4. Desk workout

It’s possible to do some exercises at your desk while holding a call or facilitating a meeting. However, to get the most out of this involves being prepared, so it doesn’t disrupt the job at hand.

Sitting down and standing up in slow motion for 30mins twice a day is a great way to get moving and engages key muscles which can help with musculoskeletal issues in the future.

Some colleagues may wonder what you are doing, but this is a great opportunity for you to encourage them to join in and introduce some friendly competition.

Another great way to work your core and improve your balance is the one legged squat which can also be done anywhere in the office. However, this is not one to practise when clients are about!

RELATED: How businesses can encourage a healthy work/life balance and benefit from more engaged and productive employees

5. The 5 challenge

This is achieved by choosing 5 different types of regular gym exercises, such as: squats, star jumps, lunges, press ups and sit ups. You can then include these 5 exercises into a meeting and encourage other members of the team to join in. This will help with any feelings of guilt if you are unable to make the gym before or after work, and you can supplement your daily exercise routine whilst at work.

Being engaged at work requires having a variety of tasks, testing your skill sets and growing your capabilities. Meetings, as we have seen, have the potential to cause the opposite, draining time whilst disengaging colleagues.

As a start-up, you have the opportunity to forge new routines and really shake things up – so addressing your meeting style could be a way to achieve this, claw back some much needed time and get your body moving all at once.

About the author

This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Nicki Cresswell, Wellbeing Training Coordinator for CABA, the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association which supports personal and professional development for Chartered Accountants.

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ByteStart is packed with help and tips on all aspects of starting and running a small business. Check out some of our most popular guides;

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