IIt’s 3 p.m. in Central Park, New York. Unsurprisingly, there are all possible clichés there: parents with their strollers, retirees on benches, the chirping of birds and… a pack of walkers in suits and suits. They are not tourists, they do not have an audio guide on their ears. They are not joggers either, despite their smartwatch beeping to indicate that they have passed the 10,000 step threshold today. No, they are employees in a meeting, in “cowalking” or “walk and talk”.
Cowalking, which could be translated as “meeting-walk”, is defined as an alternative to traditional meetings, which only 52% of employees find effective, according to a 2017 OpinionWay study. monologue by Bernard, who likes to give his opinion on everything, or whether it becomes a collective nap in front of the 873 slides of the last business plan, the old-fashioned meeting is one where we waste time. The walk and talk was born in the United States during the conferences of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple.
The clearest objective is to make up for lost time: cowalking worthy of the name lasts half an hour at most, takes place on a predefined circuit and must lead to a decision. Note-taking being perilous on the move, you have to keep the essentials, debated in one or two kilometers. It is not a question of doing “corandonning”, or even “comarathoning”, at the risk of losing a few employees on the way … depending on their physical condition. Cowalking is not a coffee break that would go on forever, with a team accompanying Stéphanie, this manager who smokes every two hours, outside.
Virtues extolled by Aristotle and Rousseau
This type of meeting is often distinguished by size: its small committee (between two and four people) is supposed to facilitate frank discussion and erase hierarchical ties. It also makes it possible to overcome the lack of confidentiality of the open space, where the ears often hang out. For logistical reasons, it is also difficult to imagine twenty people walking at the same level on a sidewalk, unless the neighborhood is pedestrianized.
Long before Steve Jobs, philosophers of all times praised the virtues of walking. Aristotle taught in high school in Athens while walking with his pupils, in the “peripatetic” school, literally “who likes to walk”. Later, Jean-Jacques Rousseau cut out his last work, The musings of the solitary walker, in ten “Walks”. “There is something about walking that animates and enlivens my ideas: I can hardly think when I stay still., he elaborates on this subject in Confessions. My body must be in motion to put my mind in it. “
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