Why You Should Take Your Meetings Outdoors

Breathe some fresh air into your meeting schedule.
Insight Timer is the top free meditation app on iOS and Android.
Insight Timer is the top free meditation app on iOS and Android.

Outdoors meetings have gained popularity in the last few years as a safe way to gather during a global pandemic. But the benefits of outdoor meetings don’t end with good airflow. Being outside improves mood, reduces stress and can boost creativity. Team bonding is even easier outdoors. Let’s breakdown how the quality of work goes up when the office walls come down. 

Your Body in Nature

Being outdoors in nature has benefits, even when work is on the agenda. When we’re surrounded by nature, our bodies respond with a decrease in blood pressure, heart rate, and physical tension. Nature also has the following impact on our psychological mood:

  • Nature increases productivity and focus
  • We’re more creative when in nature
  • Being outside makes us happier
  • Nature immersion reduces stress
  • Being outdoors improves memory
  • Immersion in nature is energizing

Imagine what work meetings would be like if everyone was happier and more energetic, better focused and more creative.

Your Mind in Nature

Just being outside of the office can profoundly change the dynamics of work meetings, even in an indoor setting like a restaurant. It’s more likely that vertical boundaries between staff and supervisors break down. Take walking meetings, for example. Walking side-by-side can diminish hierarchies and help employees feel more confident when speaking with a supervisor. This makes walking meetings ideal for performance reviews or critiques.

Walking while talking also relaxes the mind and improves executive functioning, the prioritization of tasks. Walking can even improve creative thinking, which makes walking meetings perfect for brainstorming sessions. 

Walking for greater insight and focus is nothing new. If you don’t have a team to meet with, a walking meditation is an effective one-on-one for finding clarity and inspiration within. 

Exercise Your Location Flexibility 

When remote colleagues are able to swap the screen for a phone call taken outdoors, the benefits can double. Not only does nature stimulate body and mind, the break from the tendency to stare at oneself on a Zoom call eliminates the social anxiety of “all eyes on me,” boosting confidence:

  • Employees are more likely to speak up at meetings
  • Focus improves when in new, interesting environments
  • Fewer distractions occur when staff are far from their desks
  • Productivity increases as focus sharpens and distractions decline

According to Harvard researcher Ellen Langer, when you change up the same old routine — whether with a new environment or medium for a meeting — employee engagement and mindfulness increases. Remote workers, she says, have endless possibilities to stay inspired by introducing these elements of surprise and curiosity. 

For workers everywhere, the upsides to taking work outside is undeniable. It’s said that open spaces lead to open minds. Try the fresh-air approach to your next brainstorm and see what unlocks for you and your team.

Insight Timer for work

Meditation. Free.