There is an abundance of data hitting the news lately on the harmful impacts of sitting for long periods of time. The Harvard Medical School blog posted an article indicating that excessive sitting can potentially increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, cancer and other illnesses. Busy professionals who are often required to attend meetings throughout the day may end up spending long periods of time sitting. Additionally, these meetings tend to be catered, and meals may not contain healthy foods. To ensure that meetings are healthier and more productive for employees, try following these tips.
Start With The Food
Rather than ordering up a pastry tray loaded with sugary snacks, choose healthier foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nut mixes. Make sure that they are prominently displayed. For long meetings, choosing healthy snacks with protein can help attendees stay energized for longer periods of time, and it can help to avoid the sugar crash that often accompanies less healthy alternatives. Rather than stocking soda and sugary drinks, offer guests water, coffee or tea. Research healthier catering options for lunch meetings as well.
Give People A Break
Even if your itinerary is booked solid, make time for breaks. To reduce the impact of long periods of sitting, it is important to stand up and move periodically throughout the day, and meetings are no exception. Schedule a couple of 15 minute breaks in which people can get up and stretch, walk around or leave the room for a few minutes if needed. Once they’ve gotten the chance to move a little, people will likely be more attentive and productive once they return to the conference room.
Devise The Agenda With Outcomes In Mind
For many employees, meetings can be stressful, especially if the issue being discussed is contentious or if there is no apparent outcome. To make meetings less stressful and more productive, make sure that each task on the agenda will result in an outcome. If possible, have employees and clients work on some of the meeting items before hand and be ready to present once they’re at the meeting. Try to stick to the agenda as closely as possible, and bring the room back on topic if the conversation has significantly derailed. This can help attendees to believe that the meeting was productive rather than seeing it as a stressful mismanagement of their time.
In most jobs, meetings are a necessary task, as they help people disseminate ideas and lead to clear goals and outcomes. However, they can be stressful and can cause employees to sit for significant amounts of time. By encouraging healthy eating, letting employees stretch regularly and sticking to the agenda, you can make all of your meetings more healthy for everyone in attendance.
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