Lindsay Kunkle writes: According to Google, it takes more than 6 days, non-stop, to walk 500 miles, which is also the distance from our Chapel Hill office to the office in New York. We’re not doing it non-stop, and we’re not going to end up in new York, but as a group The Chapel Hill office is planning to walk the equivalent of 500 miles over the course of eight weeks. If everyone participates, we’ll each be walking between 1.5 and 2 miles each week.
The obvious benefit of incorporating these walks into our weekly routine is physical—burning calories and becoming more fit. There is also the benefit of that post-walk re-energized feeling which exercise should give, getting some blood flowing, giving your eyes a break from the computer screen, mentally changing pace, and according to a growing amount of research, improving mental cognition and memory.
But the benefit of our walking initiative I have been most passionate about is the building and strengthening of connections across the office. For instance, our talented group of summer interns who just weeks ago were complete strangers now excitingly gather for the daily walk, indulging one another with stories—some work-related, some not. Maybe their closeness is not a direct result of walking, but it is at least a factor. For those who’ve been here longer, I’ve seen an incredible business benefit from these walks. We might all know one another, but learning more about your co-workers personally leads to greater understanding of one another and compassion in the workplace. And ideally, these conversations can lead to creative collaboration and new ideas or even just lending a hand when needed.
So, while walking may not be the single secret of business success, spending 30 minutes to get some fresh air and engage in conversation with co-workers outside the office has been advantageous for us. So now I challenge you: go and walk— get fit, re-focus, grow your brain, and learn something new about a co-worker!