The Importance of Creating Time and Space for Movement at Work

Philip Rogers
May 10 · 3 min read

Deadlines. Meetings. Crises. There can be so many demands on our time, it may seem like it’s not possible to step away from the office, even for a short time. Let’s consider some ways we can set aside time for movement while at work.

Walking 1:1

There are many reasons to have recurring meetings with one other person, and perhaps the most common example is a meeting with our boss. If we happen to be located in the same physical location, the next time we have a 1:1 on the calendar, why not consider doing something like:

  • Walking around the office together as we have our conversation
  • Walking for part of the conversation, and then wrapping it up in an office or other private space, if the conversation calls for it
  • Walking outside the office together as we have our conversation, perhaps around the block, or to a nearby cafe

Walking Retrospective

It is often a challenge for us as facilitators to find ways to keep retrospectives engaging for attendees, especially for teams that have been working together for quite some time.

One of the most readily available ways to help fresh perspectives emerge is to change the physical frame in which the retrospective conversation takes place. Consider one of these alternatives:

  • We can walk around the office together while having the retrospective conversation, using either a mobile device, post-it-notes, or index cards to record observations as we walk. (And, if one or more team members are remote, there are various ways to use mobile devices to keep them engaged in the “moving conversation”)
  • We can walk to a nearby park or similar exterior open space, either having the retrospective conversation along the way, or after we get there (or both)
  • We can leave it open-ended what our destination is, leaving it up to one or more team members to decide where our walk takes us

Creating Opportunities for Movement in Meetings

The longer the duration of a meeting, the higher the likelihood that attendees will struggle to stay engaged if they are seated in the same place for the entire time.

One of the most popular techniques to create opportunities to get out of our chairs is for some or all of the attendees to stand in front of a white board or flip chart. And, if there are remote attendees, encourage them to stand up (if they are inclined to do so) when local attendees are doing so.

The good news is that there are so many different techniques to choose from when looking for opportunities to improvement engagement and collaboration. To name just a couple of examples of places to look for inspiration:

Scheduling the Invitation to Movement in Advance

At first glance, it may seem obvious, and yet, we often do not get as much mileage as we could from the simple fact that scheduling time with a group of people, even an exceedingly busy group of people, is much easier if we get it on the calendar weeks, or even months, in advance.

There is always the potential that one or more people might say, often at the last minute, that they can’t attend, but at least there is a fighting chance of making a movement-oriented gathering happen, if and when we schedule it well in advance.

innovative agile techniques and practices

Some people try to draw a box and say "everything inside is Agile." This collection is for those who are willing to paint over and outside the lines.

Philip Rogers

Written by

I love to work with teams to help them improve. Most of my recent experiences are with teams using Lean/Agile approaches (variations on Scrum, Kanban, XP).

innovative agile techniques and practices

Some people try to draw a box and say "everything inside is Agile." This collection is for those who are willing to paint over and outside the lines.

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