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Jamie Lawrence


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Take regular walks at work – but don’t relax


Who is Dan Pallotta?

Dan rose to prominence after an highly-viewed TED talk criticising the fact that charity donors pile pressure on charities to give 100% of their donation to the cause, which prevents them building essential infrastructure to be more effective.

Harvard Business Review is carrying an interesting story from Dan Pallotta.

Dan advocates the use of walks to break up work, but he emphasises them for their ability to fuel productivity and kickstart the creative process, rather than to give the mind a 'rest.'

The science is there. Cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato from Leiden University found in 2013 that people who walk or go for a bike ride four times a week are able to think more creatively than people who lead a sedentary life. These benefits are independent of mood, according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

So we should encourage people to take walks out of the office and break up time at their desks. But they should treat them as work, not as play. No music playing. They're a simply a different way to approach an issue. And it's becoming clear we need to give employees as many tools in their arsenal as possible. Flexibility and freedom promotes growth.

According to his biographer Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs' prefered way to have a serious conversation was while walking. The body is already active; it cannot squirm. In the confines of a meeting room, it's easy to feel claustrophobic. Some would argue a meeting room sets the wrong tone for a meeting.

Henry David Thoreau said famously, “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” Perhaps there's merit in his words.

Read the full article at Harvard Business Review.

One Response

  1. Walk/talk/think

    I fully endorse this! While obviously there is a need for structured meetings etc I would  suggest that this approach can have a place in encouraging more creative and fruitful discussions in certain circumstances. Living/working in the Netherlands over the past 3 years I could see how walking and biking really pays dividends at so many levels!

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

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