An Innovative, Heart-Rate Boosting Way to Hold Remote 1:1s With Your Manager

Hrishikesh Pardeshi

Hrishikesh Pardeshi

It’s time for your weekly 1:1 with your manager. You have those, right? I hope so. That’s fodder for another time, because it wasn’t always that way for me. My manager and I are both remote, in the sense that we’re working from our homes, neither one of us in a traditional office setting. With all of my meetings being Webex-based, I quickly grow tired of sitting in front of my camera and talking, whether it’s with a group or one-on-one.

On one of the plentiful sunny days we’ve had here in upstate New York this summer, I looked out the window and felt the pull to be outside. I had a half-hour 1:1 scheduled in a few minutes. I wondered: would my manager, who lives 350 miles away from me, be up for a walk? I sent him a note in Teams to ask. Yes! He was game. We gave each other a few minutes to lace up and get out of our respective front doors.

We had a delightful half-hour walk and talk. We talked about my career aspirations, how things were going on projects, and how we could better manage our team and processes. The time flew by. We talked for a few minutes about what things looked like for us as we walked in our respective neighbourhoods. I know he has a big hill near the end of his walk before he gets back home. He knows that my town has no traffic lights. Little things, but more of a connection nonetheless.

We’ve had three such 1:1 meetings, and each one has been better than the last. I even walked my way through a sprint retrospective (software developers will know what that means) and found myself more engaged and talkative than had I been at my desk. So there you have it: an innovative, heart rate-boosting way to hold remote 1:1s with your manager.

Do you have a unique way to interact with your manager or colleagues?

Originally posted at The Art of Working Remotely

Here's what our users had to say:

  • Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "That’s quite nifty Scott :-) I don’t remember doing entire meetings this way but I try to do either of the following as many times as possible - Walk/ pace during meetings (mostly in-house or at the coworking space) - A habit I learnt from one of my past managers. It is of course not possible to do it for all meetings but I feel this is a simple and neat hack. Attend the meeting while standing by adding a simple home-made extension to my desk and converting it to a standing desk. The above might not seem very unique thought ;-) But I am sure people here who’ve have been travelling a lot will have interesting stories to share around this. @aldalima: Any incident you recollect along these lines, maybe in one of the meetings with your clients?"

  • Alda Lima said "That sounds lovely, and a perfect way to add some exercise to your day! I haven’t done anything like that yet, since I use mostly email, but will keep it in mind for a future video chat with a client. Scott’s idea is great - I think we all have some degree of Zoom-fatigue by now, so changing things up is always good. I liked your idea of pacing back and forth too, Hrishikesh - not being able to go out as much lately really highlighted how important it is to simply move your legs!"

  • Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "Oh yes. I try to squeeze in a short workout during the day but can’t make it happen always. Walking during meetings that don’t require me logged onto my machine has become a habit now and helps at least a tad bit :)"

  • Nancy said "This is great! I haven’t been able to get on an actual walk because sometimes I would need notes or to screenshare something, but I have had a manager that wouldn’t mind the bird, plane, and car noises outside, so I’d take my video calls on the porch. I’d still have wifi, but I could get some fresh air and just a change of scenery. There are only a few months of nice weather in Michigan so I try to take advantage of it before the snow hits."

  • Mark Walter said "That’s right, it does get difficult to take notes or jot down important points from the meeting. But, this brings out the personal connection between two humans in a remote setting. Also, as @aldalima mentioned, it is a great way to burn some calories as well!"

  • Scott Dawson said "I got busted once when I called into a meeting that wasn’t going to require anything but talking but then the group proposed we collaborate in a shared document. I had to ‘fess up and the group readily agreed to keep it virtual … it ended up being a fantastic meeting (and a really nice loop around my neighborhood!)"

  • Lindsay King said "Love this idea! One thing I’ve been thinking about is when to do video chats and when to do phone calls. I’ve been leaning into video chats because they seem to establish a better human connection, but phone calls seem to work fine with my supervisor because we talk so frequently as-is. For me this kind of walking conversation would work best for supervisor conversations. What are your thoughts?"

  • Scott Dawson said "I do them with my supervisor, yes! A mix of video chats in the series is useful, I agree, and form a good relationship baseline to enable solid walking conversations. I think they complement each other, and I wouldn’t suggest a walking conversation at the start of the relationship when video calls are an option to get to know each other better."