my boss wants to do walking meetings and I can’t keep up with her pace

A reader writes:

My grandboss (my manager’s manager) is on a “wellness journey” (her words) and has suggested doing skip level 1:1s as walking meetings instead of in her office.

On the one hand, I love the idea, because I am trying to avoid spending time in small spaces with unmasked colleagues because I don’t want to get Covid again. On the other hand, when we actually had a walking meeting, my grandboss was power walking! Her pace was faster than I wanted to go while conversing.

In the moment, I decided to go at the speed I wanted to go at, to avoid sounding out-of-breath. So we ended up walking around the track at my speed, but my boss was a foot in front of me the whole time.

For the record, my walking speed is not “tortoise.” When I’m walking downtown, I regularly have to weave around slower walkers. But for a skip level meeting, I want to “work while walking,” not “exercise while working.”

I fear that, if I raise the issue, it will make my boss think, “Wow, not only is she fatter than me, but she’s not even on a wellness journey like I am! What a lazy slob.”

So: on a scale of “strolling so slowly that I can sip from a thermos without breaking my stride” to “I’m contending for the Olympic speed walking team,” what’s the right pace for a walking meeting? And if my colleague isn’t picking up on my speed preference, should I go at her speed, go at my speed and pretend I haven’t noticed she wants to go faster, talk about it, or avoid walking meetings?

The right speed for a walking meeting is the speed at which the slowest person is comfortable and can talk easily.

That’s because the meeting itself needs to be the most important thing, not the exercise. If a faster person can’t bear to slow down, then walking meetings don’t work well for them. Staying a foot in front of a colleague the whole time is rude (and implies that exercise takes priority over the meeting content or, you know, general politeness).

That means that anyone participating in a walking meeting needs to be highly attuned to what speed the other person is comfortable with.

They also need to be attuned to whether the other person really wants to do a walking meeting or not. Walking meetings can be great when both people enthusiastically agree to them! Some people love them. But mutual enthusiasm is key because not everyone does — and many people aren’t physically able to do them comfortably or at all. That’s especially important for managers because the power dynamic means that some people may be uncomfortable asking for a slower pace or declining altogether.

To be clear, most managers who suggest walking meetings will be perfectly fine with someone saying they prefer to sit down in an office. But employees won’t always be sure about that, so managers need to make it really obvious that no one will be judged for declining. (For example, it’s easier to say no to a walking meeting when it’s phrased as “Any interest in walking during our meeting? If not, that’s completely fine — I know you might need to have notes or a screen in front of you instead.” And it’s even easier when you’re not put on the spot at all and instead your boss sends a general FYI to your team like, “If anyone ever wants to do a walking meeting for our 1:1, I’m up for it — zero pressure but let me know if you ever do.”)

As for what to do … do you want to do more walking meetings? If you’d rather not do them at all, you could say to your grandboss, “I’ve realized I can’t focus as well while we’re walking and I like to take notes so I’d rather meet in your office if we can.” If you’d enjoy them if only she’d slow down, you could say, “I’m up for walking but I can’t go at your speed and still talk comfortably. If slower is an option, I’m in.” (And then if she doesn’t slow down anyway, decide if you’re still up for doing them if she’s always going to be ahead of you or whether you’d rather return to in-office meetings.) But if you don’t really care if she’s a foot ahead of you the whole time, then proceed as you are; she can adjust her speed or stop proposing walks together if she minds.

I would not assume that she will judge you for not walking at her speed or for not wanting to walk at all, unless you see evidence of that. If she’s pushy about it or you hear her make dismissive remarks about other people not wanting to walk, that’s a problem — and in that case it’s worth having a discreet conversation with either your own boss or HR (probably HR, unless your boss is excellent at this stuff) because penalizing employees for physical ability can easily become a legal liability for your company.

{ 272 comments… read them below }

  1. Stuart Foote*

    For whatever it’s worth, I have had the bad habit of unconsciously “half-stepping” people in the past (not work people; running group people). I didn’t take offense when people pointed that out, so maybe this boss won’t either.

      1. Stuart Foote*

        Basically, doing what this boss is doing–instead of walking at the same pace, always being a half step ahead and forcing your partner to either fall behind or speed up.

        1. Hannah Lee*

          Thanks for the explanation.

          Because when I read “she’s a foot ahead of you the whole time” all I could think was: so … if she’s a constant distance ahead of LW the whole time, the only time she actually *went* faster was when she took that first step ahead. So in reality, the majority of the time she was going the same speed as LW. So it’s actually performative speed walking that isn’t actually speedwalking, it’s just a meeting long demonstration that manager is impatient with LW’s walking speed.

          But it sounds like in LW’s case, it’s a conscious or subconscious attempt to get LW to speed up to manager’s preferred pace. Which still isn’t really great, especially if as LW fears, it comes with a side of “people who are slower than me are lazy”

    1. Tangochocolate42*

      That’s interesting! I do the opposite and generally walk half a pace behind whoever I’m with. It’s tricky to break the habit!

      1. Lime green Pacer*

        I do this when walking with someone who isn’t physically able to walk as fast as me. If you keep them in front of you, you can’t accidentally leave them behind.

        1. User name lost in the mists of time*

          As someone who went from literally walking for a living to needing a part time mobility device thank you for doing this! I love this idea and may ask people in my life to start doing this for me. If I (or my partner) had thought of this three years ago it could have saved us both a lot of frustration. Having to ask someone to slow down every ten seconds really interferes with trying to make peace with your new level of ability!

  2. Czhorat*

    I’m a notoriously fast walker, but I cannot agree more with this from Allison:

    “”The right speed for a walking meeting is the speed at which the slowest person is comfortable and can talk easily.””

    I’ll add to that that I agree one thousand percent with OP: the kind of manager who shares a “wellness journey” and wants to speed-walk during meetings may not be the kind who would take kindly to a request to drop the speed.

    To be honest, the whole “walking meeting” idea is problematic in an of itself; you never know who has a hidden disability, who has other heavy physical demands, or who just hates exercise. Even the suggestion – especially from a grand-boss – could put quite a few employees in an uncomfortable position. While the *idea* of making the job less sendentary is laudable, there are a lot of ways in which it could be less so.

    1. HonorBox*

      Totally agree! I tend to walk a bit faster, and when I’m with someone for work purposes – not even a walking meeting, but just walking from one place to another at a conference or across the street to a meeting – I follow their pace rather than sprinting ahead.

      I was thinking the same as you, too, about the potential disability aspect as I read the letter. If there’s any sort of pressure…not just an invitation…to take a meeting outside someone may end up feeling forced to disclose something that they don’t want to disclose.

        1. Tally miss*

          Its a bad idea all around. I’m 5 foot and trying to have a conversation with someone 6 foit standing up, not even moving is annoying since I have to crane my head up. like a child taking orders from a parent.

          1. Anax*

            I use a wheelchair, and I’m totally with you there. It’s always a little awkward unless they’re six feet or more away – at which point at least the angle isn’t so weird.

        2. amoeba*

          If there’s pressure, sure, that would be bad! Otherwise, I’d just go with “oh, I can concentrate better sitting down/want to take notes/need my screen”. If they push back on that one, it definitely becomes problematic though. (Not just for people with physical issues, also for the ones for whom the above reasons are actually true!)

    2. Loredena*

      I’m very short with corresponding short legs and stride. Even at my most fit I only had one pace, and while I maintained a fast clip it was still much slower than most with their much longer strides. I would have hated walking meetings with the OPs boss!

      1. Seashell*

        I’m the shortest one in my family, so everyone walks faster than me without even trying. I don’t enjoy having to walk twice as fast as comes naturally to keep up.

        1. Loredena*

          Same! One memorable hike we did a step count as we were maintaining pace. I literally took twice as many steps in the same distance as my taller brother and his wife.

    3. AskJeeves*

      “Wellness” and everything being a “journey” are two of my pet peeves so I’d be bowing out of the walking meetings on those grounds alone if I were LW.

      1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        I hate hate hate everything being a “journey;” it’s so self important. Deciding to get more exercise is great but it’s not a mythic quest.

        1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

          Me: I think I’ll walk around the block this year. maybe eat a single vegetable
          the internet: Do you need products for your wellness journey??

        2. Zennish*

          The next time someone uses the phrase, just look at them enigmatically and say “Nothing is a journey. You have already arrived.”

        3. Festively Dressed Earl*

          It kinda is. A journey is a trip from one place to another; a quest is a journey to achieve a mission or a goal. Is it really so self important to talk about your journey from your bedroom to the closet on a quest to not be naked? Or a journey from your house to the store on a quest for ice cream?

          Okay, yeah, it is. Unless you have a sword.

          1. amoeba*

            I have a sword! Should I take it to the ice cream shop now?

            (Ok OK, it’s wooden, but it should count, right?)

        4. Irish Teacher.*

          It actually kind of annoyed me for reasons I can’t quite articulate when somebody responded to a comment I made about my experience with thyroid cancer as “everybody’s journey is different.” I felt like saying, “dude, I had my thryoid removed. That…isn’t exactly a journey.” It’s partly that it felt kind of silly for something that was simply removed in one go. I get the metaphor when treatment involves chemo or other ongoing treatment, but just having an operation and waking up to the surgeon saying, “we got it all.” Not sure that counts as a “journey.” But I’m not entirely sure why it irritated me so much instead of amusing me. I think it was partly that they were framing my experience and partly just the “everything has to be a journey and be deep and meaningful and life changing” and…it wasn’t.

          I think I would feel the same if I were trying to lose weight and somebody referred to it as my “wellness journey.” I don’t care what other people call what they are doing but like a) there is more to “wellness” than losing weight, b) “wellness” is so vague, it sounds kinda scammy anyway and c) there is something about the term “wellness journey” that makes it sound like you are the protagonist of a book and this is your character changing moment and it’s just…getting more exercise.

          1. Mango Freak*

            Thank you so much for saying that. I really really hate that so many people try to make cancer and other horrible experiences “meaningful.” It’s self-deluding pablum.

    4. OMG It's 2024!*

      Yep. While I’m a pretty fast walker, *most of the time* because I’m 5′ and my husband and sons are all 6’2ish, so I’ve learned to walk fast to keep up, I also have severe flare ups of plantar fasciitis which are debilitating enough to use a handicapped placard on those days. So, if my boss were to suggest a walking meeting, I couldn’t say from one day to the next if I’d be “up for it” or “barely capable of making it into the building that day.” Leave the exercising for non-work time.

    5. I Have RBF*

      To be honest, the whole “walking meeting” idea is problematic in an of itself…


      I am disabled. Outdoors I walk with a cane. I’m also fat, and the number of people who try to cajole me into joined their ****ing “wellness journey”, etc is too many to count.

      Even before I was disabled I was fat, and did not want to join anyone’s “exercise program”, “lifestyle changes”, “wellness journey”, “diet support group”, etc. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, often caused me pain, and was usually very patronizing and humiliating. Even getting pressure to get involved would trigger my disordered eating and make things worse.

      Walking meetings are for meeting and talking, not for power walking, etc. They are not for demonstrating fitness, dedication to fitness, or competition. If you have that going on, it’s not a meeting, it’s just abuse.

      Outdoor meetings can be great, as long as no one is trying to be a fitness “inspiration” or some such nonsense. Exercise on your own time, boss, don’t try to impose it on your reports.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        God, that last sentence especially. I’m not your trainer or your fitness buddy, and I shouldn’t be having to fit my job into your exercise routine, boss.

      2. Anax*

        Yeah, we had a “meet the executives!” meeting I would have loved to go to, but it was a walking meeting, no mention if the path was accessible, and it was outdoors in hot, sunny weather.

        I guess I’m just… not getting that networking opportunity.

        Disability is so often not considered by ablebodied people in a position of privilege, and that’s frustrating.

        1. Freya*

          Earlier this week, I managed to get a light sunburn napping on my bed after work while my husband cooked dinner. Now he understands why I prefer the blinds closed over and don’t do sunny weather without lots of prep!

          (I’d have missed out on that networking opportunity, too. Sun exposure is a No Thank You with my pale skin and medications with photosensitivity side effects)

    6. nm*

      I had a manager who likes “walking meetings” because they helped with her back pain, but I’ve had to refuse for reasons ranging from “I wore heels today” to “I have spreadsheets I need to show you”. It’s nice as an *option* sometimes, but it’s easy to see how depending on the senior colleague’s personality lots of people would be suuuuper uncomfortable refusing.

    7. Ally McBeal*

      I am also a notoriously fast walker. I was a campus ambassador in college and realized quickly that walking backwards (standard form for tour guides) slowed me down to a much more comfortable pace for everyone in my group. Maybe OP’s boss would consider this, especially if they have a relatively uncrowded place to walk, like a business park or residential sidewalks. I would NOT recommend this in NYC.

    8. Csethiro Ceredin*

      It sounds like this manager is trying to combine rigorous exercise with a meeting, which just doesn’t work!

      I’m tall with a long stride, really like walking, and never suggest anyone walk with me to discuss work stuff except occasionally one colleague who also walks everywhere they can by choice. And of course I adapt my pace because she is shorter. But it’s not for exercise, just a more free-form discussion. This manager is wrong to push walking meetings AND isn’t doing walking meetings in a reasonable way.

      1. amoeba*

        Yeah, it doesn’t actually sound like she’s walking at a speed that comfortable for *her*, either, does it? At which point it’s not really a question about matching walking speeds anymore, but rather about the point of the walking. For most people, it would be “don’t sit in a chair all day, get some fresh air”, which I agree can be great! For her, it’s apparently “exercising while working”, which is just… not a thing you should do, probably ever. (OK, maybe at home by yourself while doing really boring tasks, if that’s your thing? But definitely not with other people present!)

    9. JaneB*

      Totally agree! If I’m thinking about the topic, not just chit-chatting, I can’t walk “smoothly” because I tend to gesture, wander from the straight path (often knocking into people or things, embarrassingly), stop without noticing, or drop stuff (I am recently diagnosed with ADHD in my 50s and suspect I am also dyspraxic – my brain can think about 15 things at once but it can barely manage both walking and carrying a piece of paper at the same time!). None of which are helpful in a meeting…

    10. goddessoftransitory*

      My aunt used to do a lot of hiking, and she says the cardinal rule for a group hike is that you go at the pace of the slowest in the group.

      This obviously works best for a set of people who have pretty similar rates of speed and levels of stamina, but the idea is to not make the hike a misery of trying to play constant catch up and never getting a good rest period for the slower-paced members.

      1. Christine*

        I ended up badly injured on a hike with someone who was walking much faster than I could. I rushed, slipped, and smashed my ankle and wrist. Four broken bones and both joints dislocated. Hours of surgery the next morning to put me back together.
        That was the last hike I ever did, at age 37.

      2. Ash*

        Yep, when traveling with a group in an airport, I told the fast walkers (who get stressed) that they’re not going to gain anything because we have to wait for everyone at the same time. If you want to go fast, go alone.. if you want to have the great experience with the group, then you have to wait.

        It’s a shame that this manager is not aware that she should be keeping the same pace for all. She can speedwalk on her own time so she’ll feel like she got her steps in.

      3. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        When I was a wee thing, back in the 1970’s, we did family backpacking trips. My sister and I were the only grandchildren at that point, so we were the youngest by a long shot, and the walking was *never* at our pace. At some point in my 30’s I was doing a lot of reassessment of childhood memories and I realized that I loved *being* in the mountains, but I hated *getting there*. For a couple of decades after that, I called those trips “forced marches” instead of “backpacking trips”.

  3. librarianmom*

    I fear that, if I raise the issue, it will make my boss think, “Wow, not only is she fatter than me, but she’s not even on a wellness journey like I am! What a lazy slob.”

    Oh, boy…. I think that if you think your boss would judge you in that way, you have a bigger problem that just walking more slowly.

    1. Jane Bingley*

      Being fat in the workplace is hard, and anti-fat bias is pervasive and can be really toxic in workplaces. Some studies have shown that fat employees are paid less and are promoted less, and people tend to think of fat employees as lazy and less hard-working than their thin colleagues. While assuming anti-fat bias or projecting it isn’t necessarily helpful, it’s a very understandable concern for fat people in the workplace.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Totally true, and I agree below that this is a real thing to worry about, but I also want to flag that “fatter than boss” doesn’t automatically mean “fat enough to invoke discrimination”. It could, I just don’t want to speculate too much on information OP doesn’t share.

        1. Elitist Semicolon*

          I’m not sure what you mean by this. There’s no set metric by which someone is “fat enough to invoke discrimination” – the metric is whether someone is being treated unfairly based on their weight/appearance. Whether OP is 5 or 50 or 500 lbs heavier than their boss isn’t relevant; what IS relevant is that the boss might be forming judgments about the OP based on their perceived weight/inability to comfortably keep up and talk at the same time and then acting upon those judgments in professional contexts.

          1. anonymouse*

            Very much this. Nobody truly knows what anyone is thinking. I gained thirty pounds this year. I was riding in the elevator with another woman who was about my weight (could stand to lose 40 pounds). She commented on my jacket. I said hers was nice. She turned it into, she had to wear it, because her other one, “well, you know, people like us, well…”
            I: Fat?
            she: YES! we have to pick and choose in our closet.
            I: you mean fits/doesn’t fit sections?
            she: Yes! So I have to wear this jacket…
            OK then. Good talk, Rusty

          2. WillowSunstar*

            I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in my 30’s and probably had it long before then. Even at weights like 160-170, which was in my 20’s, I got fat shamed and discriminated against by both family members and at my temp jobs back then. People do often judge others harshly even when they’re at “slightly higher than average” weights. Now I wish I weighed what I did in those days.

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Sometimes people who are newly on a wellness journey get REALLY judgy, it’s not even malicious it’s just the fact of how humans process changing their priorities. It sucks, and I don’t condone it, but when it’s your boss being aware of that possibility is pretty natural.

      I think OP is probably (hopefully) overthinking it but I can’t blame her.

      1. Lacey*

        Yes, this is super common, so I’m not surprised the OP is worried about it. Especially if she’s already seen signs of it in her boss’s boss.

      2. alex*

        +1. A few years ago at Old Job, several people became CrossFit enthusiasts. In my experience, all the stereotypes are true. It was literally the ONLY thing they talked about and even though there was no verbal or outright judgments against those of us who like to exercise differently, the vibe was in the air all the time.

        1. Rainy*

          My husband works a few doors down from a Crossfit…what do they call them, “boxes”? A Crossfit box, and most of the clients for the company he works for are older folks. The Crossfitters doing their “run to the corner and back” thing have run over their clients who are just trying to walk in and out of the business. I don’t think any of their clients have broken a bone yet but it’s just a matter of time since many of them have been knocked to the ground, and sometimes then stepped on by the rest of the pack.

          They really are incredibly inconsiderate.

          1. CommanderBanana*

            There’s a Crossfit studio with big glass windows in my neighborhood that is on the way to my favorite bakery. I like to stand in front of the window whilst eating one of their delicious chocolate croissants.

          2. Be the Change*

            crossfitter here, what the FK? your husband’s company should sue that box hard. that is absolutely not acceptable. I’d be ashamed to be a member of that one.

            1. Rainy*

              It’s clearly acceptable to the facility, since they haven’t changed the run route and no one who does it (multiple times in a class) gives a single solitary fuck about whether it’s safe or not. It’s also got a bunch of signs in the window about how highly rated it is in the Crossfit community. (:

      3. OMG It's 2024!*

        My Dad used to say there’s nothing worse than a reformed person, be it a reformed drinker, smoker, reborn Christian, suddenly all raw diet, whatever. They seem to go super evangelical about their wellness journey, new health or religion kick, etc… and from what I’ve experienced … he was correct!

        1. Fishsticks*

          I worked for a woman who called herself a ‘carnivore’ – she had gone keto and then somehow even more restrictive than that. And hoo boy did she loudly and openly mock everyone else’s food all the time. She also owned the business, so you couldn’t really do anything about it.

          Her comments about food and weight would really hurt a lot of my coworkers, but I just kept in mind that she was essentially a ‘convert’, and thought of it like a ‘born again’ evangelical telling us all we’re going to the Bad Place for our sins. I grew up with those people, so I can let it all roll off my back by now.

          She was an interesting one. She would swing wildly between mocking us all for what we ate and then being incredibly generous and caring about other things, but then completely UNCARING about others.

          She was also the best boss I’ve ever had as a mom to young kids. She’d had two kids herself and she always understood if you had to bring your kiddo in for a couple hours or if something came up at the school.

    3. Insert Clever Name Here*

      Yes, OP does have a bigger problem than walking slowly and it is the real discrimination that fat people can face. That’s what you meant, right?

      1. Betty*

        I read this as the “bigger problem” being that the grandboss would be a jerk/problematic in a much broader set of situations than a walking meeting. Like if someone said “I fear that if I ask my coworker to replace the toner when it is low, they will go on an ugly screed about how incompetent I am”, we’d all agree that the problem is not the toner, and that probably there are some bigger issues with the coworker and/or with the dynamic between the two of them.

        1. honeygrim*

          That’s how I read it as well: “If your boss is that prone to snap judgments about other people’s bodies, there are bigger issues than her walking speed.” It’s not a very actionable statement, but I think (hope?) it wasn’t meant to be insulting or unkind.

          1. Electric sheep*

            Fatphobia is super super common and the idea that it only happens occasionally where there are ‘bigger issues’ is sadly misinformed.

            1. amoeba*

              Huh? I don’t think the point was “this is not about fatphobia”, but rather “if you have an insulting/judgy (including fatphobic) boss, this isn’t really about the walking speed, but you have a more general problem”. Like, if the OP is worried that the boss would react that way, that doesn’t really say anything good about boss’ character and behaviour, does it?

              I also agree with the above post that we have absolutely zero clue from the letter whether OP is fat or not, so speculating about that doesn’t really help? Pretty sure some people on a “wellness journey” might possibly judge me that way, even though I’m lucky enough to not normally be a target for fatphobia.

      2. Festively Dressed Earl*

        No, she means that OP might be facing other kinds of power trips or toxicity. Anti fat bias is real. So is racism. So is sexism. So is ableism and anti-LGBTQ nonsense. So is the possibility of plain toxic power dynamics. Intersectionality means that a jerk can discriminate on multiple fronts at the same time on a quest to dehumanize others.

      3. Irish Teacher.*

        Yes, I assumed they meant that if the boss is somebody who would discriminate against fat people or average sized people or people who are slim but not quite as slim as her and/or people who don’t choose to go on a “wellness journey” at the exact same moment as she does and use the exact same methods as her to do so (since somebody could be actively working to lose weight and still not want to hold meetings while doing so), then yeah, that is a bigger problem than walking speed.

        Fatphobia is a serious issue and if the boss is fatphobic or thinks everybody should be losing weight even if they don’t need to, then yeah, that is not somebody you want in authority over you. It’s not normal behaviour. Relatively common, but still indicative of “bigger issues” in the sense that it says the boss cannot distinguish between her personal issues and her role as manager.

        And yeah, there is no reason to assume the LW is overweight. Of any two people, one is likely to be heavier. It doesn’t follow that either of them need to be overweight. Both could be below average weight.

    4. Salty Caramel*

      Oh, boy…. I think that if you think your boss would judge you in that way, you have a bigger problem that just walking more slowly.

      When you’re fat, you’re constantly being judged, especially if you aren’t performing the role of being on a fitness journey. This is a real issue fat people face every day, and it’s unkind of you to be so invalidating.

      1. Yoyoyo*

        I hope that librarianmom will clarify, because I took their comment to mean that the “bigger problem” is that the boss is a terrible person.

        1. Old Bat in the Belfry*

          I did too at first, but then I reread. My interpretation is like Caramel’s, refering to the LW thinking their boss is judging them.

        2. amoeba*

          Huh? Yeah, that’s my read as well – if I’m basically expecting/afraid of being judged and shamed by my boss, I have a terrible boss, no matter which speed they walk at.

      2. I am fat...*

        It is not unkind or invaliding to bigger problems could exist because multiple truths can exists at the same time.

        After the letter on hoarding I’m disappointed in these responses.

      3. librarianmom*

        I am sorry if my choice of words led you to think I am trying to be insulting. On the contrary! My comment was about the insensitivity of the boss and that the problem of the inability to keep pace was the surface problem. The more significant problem was exactly what you expressed — judgement and discrimination about appearance, body type and the ideas that surround lifestyle choices. The fact that the LW feared that judgment is just horrible!

        1. Mango Freak*

          I just think it’s odd to paint this as a “bigger” problem rather than the problem LW has recognized and is asking how to deal with.

          Lots of people judge others for their bodies and perceived fitness. They don’t have to say it out loud to do it. LW is astute, and normal, to be taking that into consideration–I honestly don’t think it’s an unusual person who notices whether someone else is “fatter than me,” however small the degree. I’m not saying everyone does that, but probably more than one person per office–especially when the subject of ‘fitness’ is already out in the open.

    5. Also-ADHD*

      Honestly, not necessarily, though, because people often feel others will judge their looks much more than they actually do. It’s totally common, though sucks when you’re in that headspace, and it doesn’t mean there’s either any real reason that grandboss would think that OR that LW is anything other than understandably human. We tend to compare ourselves constantly, so not being on a “wellness journey” may make LW feel even more alienated but grandboss may have any number of totally personal reasons for their wellness journey.

  4. Trout*

    I would note that the grand boss is somewhat adjusting her pace to LW. She’s walking the same speed, but maintaining a 1 foot distance ahead. This screams as a power play not as an inability to slow down. People do this to me a lot, and when I try to catch up that 1 foot they speed up, and maintain their lead until we’re almost racing. It’s maddening.

    1. JSPA*

      you’re reading a lot of intentionality into the fact that people automatically notice if someone is falling significantly behind, and adjust to prevent a large gap.

      When you close the gap, that automatic brake is released, and they will naturally accelerate up to their enjoyable speed.

      Which, if you’re not a habitual walker, may well strike you as a near-run.

      If you prefer to stroll–try saying so?

      1. Sacred Ground*

        If someone makes a point of staying a step ahead of me while also trying to talk to me, I am absolutely reading intentionality into it. It feels like an obvious power move to take away the subordinate person’s dignity.

        1. IneffableBastard*

          I agree. The person I know who does this the most definitely has no patience or consideration for others. I know them very well (close family member) and that’s how I know. Other people may have other reasons, of course, but if there is a power imbalance in the relationship (such as in a management position), they should be extremely mindful about walking with the other person.

    2. Mad Harry Crewe*

      Nah. My ex did this all the time, she’d get excited about what we were talking about and unconsciously speed up, until she was dragging my arm like a leash. As soon as I tugged her a little or said “hey come walk with me” she’d consciously slow down (unless she got excited and sped up again). I do it too with much shorter friends, although I like to think I’m pretty good about noticing and adjusting.

      A lot of this stuff is unconscious for a lot of people a lot of the time – not everybody, not always, but it sounds like OP’s boss just walks fast and isn’t paying close attention to her walking companions.

      1. Baroness Schraeder*

        I have a friend who walks right in the middle of the path forcing anyone who walks alongside her to walk with one foot on the path and one in the grass alongside. She doesn’t even realise and I don’t care enough to point it out, but it’s amazing how oblivious some people are!

    3. Caliente Papillon*

      This is interesting because I have a friend who perpetually walks behind me! I slow down she slows down. This even happens when, like walking around a museum, so o feel like she hangs back on purpose but I have no idea why. It’s so bizarre I actually did a vibe check and hung out with other friends and this doesn’t happen.

      1. Tangochocolate42*

        I doubt I’m your friend, but I do this! No idea why, but can’t seem to break the habit!

      2. D*

        I have a friend who does this, and I always stop and turn to make sure she’s keeping up, and she gets mad because she doesn’t WANT to be next to me because I might bump into her.

      3. i like hound dogs*

        My husband does this, and it irritates me to no end! Especially since he’s usually the one who knows where we’re going as a family — we’ll be inside a crowded stadium going toward seats he purchased, and my son and I are in front of him saying “which way? this row?” etc., or he’s correcting us for turning the wrong way. JUST WALK BESIDE US!

        He says he is so much faster than us that he has to consciously slow down, so I guess he’s overcorrecting? It’s so weird!

    4. Julian*

      Maybe, but I think it’s just automatic for some people. My mom and sister do this, and I’ve had to tell them to slow down or we can talk later.

    5. Freya*

      I sometimes have difficulty hearing people who aren’t facing me, particularly if there’s wind or other noise. If you’re walking a foot ahead, you’re not facing me. Chances are good that I won’t be able to hear everything you say, so I’ll have to either run to catch up for the short period before the walker again pulls ahead or ask the person walking ahead of me to repeat themselves repeatedly.

  5. Stella70*

    IMHO, this sounds like a hellish way to conduct a meeting. With my hourly hotflashes + exercising, by the time we returned to the office, someone would inevitably take one look at me and call the paramedics.

    What about hammock meetings? When will they become all the rage?

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Completely with you on this. And there are so many things people deal with – hotflashes, asthma, joint issues, whatever – that may make this difficult and that they may not want to share with their boss.

      1. RLC*

        So, so true! I’ve had a number of colleagues for whom lip reading was a crucial part of communication. A walking meeting could make clear and complete communication nearly impossible; the employee may not wish to be forced to share this concern.

        1. Delta Delta*

          I didn’t realize before Covid how much I rely on seeing people’s faces when we talk. I have some minor hearing loss, and I realize I rely quite a bit on lip reading. A walking meeting like this might be hard for me if I were OP.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            Covid highlighted this for me too. I think it’s just an ADHD related auditory delay but I really need lips. I also need subtitles for TV typically.

            1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

              Huh! My wife relies on lips a lot (no diagnosis, but it’s obvious she doesn’t hear some high-frequency sounds I do) and hates TV subtitles. (She says they ruin the pace). I adore subtitles! They let me have a comfortable volume for everything else and still comprehend dialogue.

        2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          The ableism aspect occurred to me immediately because I have ADHD and HAVE to take notes of meetings.

          1. amoeba*

            Sure, it would definitely be ableist to make walking meetings mandatory! For other people it might actually be super helpful though and only having the option “sit down at desk” would be the uncomfortable one. So having multiple options definitely seems like the way to go? Some people can’t sit without pain for longer periods, some people can actually concentrate better when walking, some people really need fresh air regularly, some people are still uncomfortable being in close proximity to colleagues due to COVID and happy for a chance to take of their mask for a bit…

            Also OP mentions that she would actually be happy to take the walking meeting (at a reasonable speed), so that’s not really the issue here?

            1. Allonge*

              Yes, as always, the meeting or activity needs to be inclusive to the people who are actually there, not the whole wide world.

              And it’s out of the norm enough that saying ‘it does not really work for me’ should not be an issue.

      2. Clare*

        Real life example incoming:

        I have terrible ankles. Without support they collapse in sideways so far that my shins aren’t centred over my feet, straining my knees and giving me terrible leg aches. I get my exercise in through cycling, swimming and gym equipment, but I’ve received a lot of flak over the years for not being ‘fit enough’ to walk and/or run for exercise. (Daily life walking is fine with orthotics and shoes that support my ankles, but any additional force tips me over the edge.)

        My fast twitch (i.e. short and chunky) muscle fibres don’t exactly help my defence either. I’m glad people can enjoy speed walking, but please don’t make me join in. Biomechanically it doesn’t make me healthier, it’s just causing damage. I’ll join you for sit-ups if you like?

        1. SarahKay*

          This may not be an option for you, but I had the same issue. I then had an operation to break, reset and pin both my ankles so now my legs/shins/weight comes down squarely on my heels. It was a huge success – the change from the before and after x-rays was dramatic. Also I no longer end up with shoes totally destroyed on the inside of the heel and barely touched on the outside.
          Caveats: the operation was in my late teens; no idea if it would have been so successful otherwise. Also I’m in the UK so it was free under the NHS which is not a luxury many people have, but I wanted to at least mention it as an option.

          1. IneffableBastard*

            if they have hypermobility, like me, the problem comes back. Physiotherapy and fucntional training to develop strength worked well for me although it’s no cure

    2. John Smith*

      I’ve never heard of a walking meeting before – it sounds utterly ridiculous as it does pointless. Just…..why?

      1. BethRA*

        Because, especially for folks who spend a LOT of time in meetings, getting up and moving around can help not just your overall physical and mental health, but also your ability to focus during that specific meeting. Personally, I find they also really lend themselves to meetings where we need to brainstorm or think creatively.

        If that’s not you, it’s really ok to say no. No details or explanation required, just “walking meetings just don’t work well for me.”

      2. JSPA*

        1. plenty of us think better while our feet are moving.

        2. its a way to emphasize, “I want your thoughts, not a presentation.”

        3. as the LW said, and a lot of people are ignoring, it’s a way to get out of the enclosed viral-rich hothouse that offices become, in winter.

        4. in a cooler climate, when you can’t comfortably sit outdoors, it’s still comfortable if you walk.

        5. good way to banish after-lunch sleepiness, avoid interruptions, and focus on the person you’re talking with.

        1. ferrina*

          6. Good way to squeeze a quick meeting in between meetings if you are super busy. I’ve taken more than my fair share of meetings while making coffee then walking to my next meeting.

          I love a walking meeting, but only works if it works for both folks. And walking ability can easily vary on a day by day. I always ask “Are you okay with walking with me while I grab coffee?” no matter how many walking meetings I’ve done before.

          1. amoeba*

            7. Movement is beneficial both for mental and physical health. Walking isn’t for everybody, sure, but for most people, getting *some* kind of physical movement instead of just sitting at a desk all day is actually really beneficial.

          2. t-vex*

            How in the world do you take or refer to notes if you are walking around?? Potential issues about physical challenges aside, this is the part I can never fathom about walking meetings.

            1. amoeba*

              You don’t – it’s more for informal discussions, catch-ups, etc.! (Although you could certainly pause to quickly jot down something on your phone or even in a small notebook, I guess…)

      3. Festively Dressed Earl*

        For neurospicy people, moving around helps us think sometimes. For others, it’s less formal and minimizes anxiety around speaking to people who might be intimidated across a desk or a conference table. Also sometimes you see bunnies or ducks.

      4. TechWorker*

        I know my grandboss offers running meetings to some of his reports so I guess that sounds even more crazy to you (but the person he does it with is also super into running so they both like it.)

        I offer walking ‘meetings’ when a report has something they want to talk to me about but it’s upsetting for them (eg bad personal news that’s going to affect work). This means a) no risk of being seen crying in the office (some meeting rooms have glass walls or are close to work areas, so if you leave in tears it’s very obvious) and b) they don’t have to look directly at me as they talk, if they don’t want to. We usually go at a VERY slow pace but lots of people take up the option & find it easier.

      5. Irish Teacher.*

        I once had a principal interview me while walking around the school. Not as in “he gave me a tour of the school and then conducted the interview,” but literally conducted the interview while walking. It did kind of have a point because the school was one that had a lot of students with behavioural problems and he wanted me to see the reality, so that if I were offered the job, I’d be able to make an informed decision about whether or not it was a place I wanted to work (he was clear that what he wanted to avoid was people taking the job and then deciding they would prefer an “easier” school and continuing to jobsearch, leading to high turnover, which…is particularly bad with students who have troubles and often need stability).

        And he wasn’t walking quickly so it wasn’t like this, but it was still unusual.

      6. Sacred Ground*

        I blame Aaron Sorkin.

        The “pede-conference” was a running joke among West Wing fans for years. Anytime any two characters had to speak to each other briefly, they’d do so while walking swiftly around the offices without ever actually going anywhere. I wondered if any of them actually had offices and if so, why? Never thought someone would take this obviously-contrived device from a tv show intended to communicate “busy, busy people” to a TV audience and treat it as an actual means to conduct business.

    3. All who sweat are not lost*

      Yes. For a variety of reasons I “power walk” on my own time, only when I have a chance to cool down and then shower. I can then present myself at work as a non-smelly, non-sweaty, non-flushed, non- hot flashing, non- red faced normal looking professional.
      I like the excuse of needing to take notes if OP wants to opt out of these walking meetings.

    4. bighairnoheart*

      Hammock meetings would be amazing! I’ve joked with my manager that if we ever have a 1-on-1 meeting coming up with nothing big to discuss, we should just bring pillows that day and use that time for a power nap. It’s wellness!

      1. I Have RBF*

        A couple nice, cushy rocking chairs would be awesome too. Outside, under a canopy, cold beverages and a nice, mellow meeting would be very nice.

    5. Distracted Procrastinator*

      I would absolutely join a hammock meeting trend. Does it come with cold drinks?

    6. The OG Sleepless*

      I’m pretty active and love to walk/hike, but I couldn’t do a meeting while walking. I’m not good at organizing my thoughts unless I can see things that are written down, and take notes on what’s being discussed.

        1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          In my experience skip-level meetings generally don’t have action items, they’re more of a general check-in, a chance to raise issues about your manager or ask about overall upcoming strategy.

          1. Sacred Ground*

            In my experience, everything said in a skip-level meeting is important. If I don’t take notes, I *will* miss something and it *will* matter that I missed it.

            That’s some fanfic on your part, assuming that the the content of the meeting doesn’t involve anything OP needs to act on.

    7. Juicebox Hero*

      Hammocks and klutzes like me don’t get along. Can we just do lawn chair meetings instead?

    8. goddessoftransitory*

      This! I exercise at home precisely because an actual workout + my cooldown period is not something to fit into a workday.

      My workplace installed a gym recently, and I internally rolled my eyes because the only people who are going to have the time to change, work out, cool down, shower, and re-dress are management, but they walk through our call center to get to the exercise room.

    9. Distant Audacity*

      Counterpoint: Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky famously developed and talked through a lot of their theories on what decision making and became Behavioural Economics etc during walks.

      The act of walking (simple movement) jigged loose (scientific term!) thoughts and discussions in a way that would not happen just by sitting down.

      Caveat: I assume that they had coordinated their walking speeds so that both were comfortable, and that it walks and meandering, and not power-walks/quasi-exersice!

  6. StressedButOkay*

    I have never heard of this trend before and it sounds horrendous. As a lover of walking, but one who is clumsy with bad handwriting, I have so many questions and fears. How do you take notes? How do you not fall flat on your face? How do you get anything actually done besides, I don’t know, connecting with the other person?

    1. Emily*

      Yeah, the issue with note taking immediately stuck out to me. Unless somehow these meetings don’t need note taking, I don’t see how this would work, unless someone was super coordinated. I am not coordinated, and would fall on my face if I tried to walk and take notes at the same time.

      1. TechWorker*

        Yes, there are a lot of meetings that don’t require note taking :) I don’t think anyone is suggesting you do a walking meeting where one person is trying to present to others who make notes…

    2. Sneaky Squirrel*

      I agree that I’d never want to conduct a formal meeting this way; I need a place to be able to take notes and I wouldn’t want to have a serious conversation with an employee regarding an issue out on a walking path where I couldn’t be at full capacity to help come up with a solution. An informal ‘let’s connect’ meeting would be very nice though.

      1. Mad Harry Crewe*

        I used to do monthly skip-level chats with a great grand-boss and he’d always take us on a stroll. It was really just an informal conversation – how are things going, how does the team look from your perspective, did I have any questions about the department or other teams. Nothing where I needed to have or take notes. It was nice to get out and walk around, and I’m sure it didn’t hurt that the organization was outgrowing that office, so it would have been hard for him to get a meeting room for every 1:1 he did.

        He confirmed I was up for a walk the first few times, and I had no concern that if I’d needed to skip at any point, we could have done so. I think the one time we had bad weather, we found a coffee shop nearby.

        1. Sacred Ground*

          I think the key difference is “stroll.” You’re casually and slowly walking around to have a conversation while enjoying the day outside. You’re not straining yourself for the express purpose of getting strenuous exercise while also trying to get something like work done, nor are you expecting your coworker to keep up with your personal exercise routine so they can do their job, a job that doesn’t normally involve strenuous activity.

          If “the employee in this position must maintain a minimum walking speed of 3-5 mph for sustained periods while multitasking” is a job requirement, it needs to be written into the job description.

          But it’s not a real job requirement, it’s just an imposition that this boss has decided to make on OP for her own personal benefit. If it causes OP to seek employment elsewhere, the boss has just cost the company a good employee because she can’t separate her business needs (must have meetings) from her personal needs (must get more exercise).

          And consistently walking a foot or two ahead of a subordinate, even after slowing down to their pace, while talking to them over your shoulder as they frantically try to keep notes walking behind you? I can’t see this as anything other than a naked expression of power over a subordinate. It communicates “you will jump through whatever silly hoops I put in front of you for my convenience at the expense of your own dignity or even safety.”

    3. Former academic*

      They’re good for fairly unstructured idea-generating kinds of conversations, where you could jot down the gist of the high points when you get back to your desk and that would be fine. I used them from time to time when I was associate chair of an academic department and wanted to get informal feedback from people about a particular issue/general vibes or get a stakeholder onboard with a proposal.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Yep. I’ve also seen them for mentoring/generally talking-things-through meetings that don’t generate action items – sometimes people think better getting out of the office for a bit. But the logistics definitely don’t work for everyone.

        1. Uranus Wars*

          Yes, I welcome them because a break from the office and the zoom meetings is something I look forward to! I also focus better on the conversation when I am only walking (as opposed to being tempted by other distractions). Generally I think a skip-level meeting would be the ideal scenario for one because (in my mind) they are used to catch up, generally get a temperature, generate ideas, etc., not necessarily have action items that require a large amount of note taking.

          All that being said, if someone told me they didn’t want to do a walking meeting I’d be ok with that, too. Everyone is different when it comes to that kind of stuff.

        2. amoeba*

          For me they’re similar to the “coffee meeting” which I used to have a lot of in my last job – just walk down to the cafeteria, grab a coffee and chat informally about a project/problem/whatever. Definitely not recommended for formal meetings with action points and notes, but for connecting and exchanging ideas, these were great. I miss them!

    4. I'm just here for the cats!*

      You don’t typically take hand written notes. At most, if something comes up you take out your phone and write a note or an email to yourself.
      Walking meetings should not be used for 1:1 where there is information or tasks given, unless there is an immediate follow up right afterward without walking so the 2 people can summarize.
      In my experience these type of meetings are more for catching up and connecting not for tasks.

    5. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I would have such a tough time concentrating during such a meeting. As an avid hiker, I do love walking (obviously) but the thing I love about it is that there are so many things to see! I would get so distracted by every little thing that I wouldn’t be able to pay attention to the actual meeting and then I would forget anything that I did actually pay attention to once we got back to the office because I couldn’t take notes in the moment. If I had to remember everything and try to write it down after the fact, I still would forget a lot. I can’t see how these meetings could be very productive, which then leads me to wonder how productive these meetings were before the grandboss suggested doing them while walking, which then leads to the obvious question of “Why are we having these meetings anyway?”

      I might be projecting here because I really hate useless meetings. And also, I choose my hiking/walking partners very carefully; being, essentially, forced to walk with someone just because they are my boss would be really frustrating if the walks weren’t otherwise enjoyable.

      1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        Me too. I get why walking can be good for some people to focus but personally I find it much harder because I’m distracted by all the things to see! Also, I focus best when I can see someone’s face. I’m far most distractable on a walk than in an office.

        I’ve done successful walk-and-talks but never as “meetings”. They are more like grabbing coffee to catch up or have a non-agenda chat.

    6. John Smith*

      I suppose it just turns into a “talk while we walk / wheel” which I would call a casual/informal chat and not a meeting. I cannot get over how utterly pointless something like this seems.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Right? I could see it as a one-time thing if you are both new or don’t know each other well and want to just have an informal chat, but absolutely not as a regular thing.

      2. Pocket*

        I find it very helpful when we’re stuck on defining a problem or seem to have run out of solutions. It’s not generating a to do list but searching for the understanding that we need to establish before a to do list can make sense. I’ve needed it more and more as my roles have shifted from delivery to strategy.

        Walking (or a variety of other atypical options) shakes up the routine enough for new ideas to have a better chance to flow.

    7. samwise*

      You don’t take notes. It’s a meeting that is necessarily less formal, more focused on talking, spit-balling, engaging socially.

      I’ve done a lot of walking meetings with my supervisor. They are great for me for creative thinking, speculating. If something is note-necessary, however, I will say to my boss, please remind me to take care of X when we get back to the office, cuz it’s gonna leak out of my brain. Or I’ll say, I’m gonna forget that, stop a minute so I can text myself a reminder.

      Not everybody’s cup of tea. That doesn’t make them a worthless idea and no one should do them. Because plenty of folks do find them enjoyable and useful.

      1. samwise*

        Also, they work something like driving your teenager to school or whatever. You don’t have to look at each other while you’re talking — which can potentially make conversation easier.

        (obviously if you prefer or need to look at the other person’s face while conversing, a walking meeting won’t work well)

    8. lyonite*

      I have walking meetings occasionally with my grandboss and they’re mostly just check in/catch up times where we talk more about big picture stuff than specifics. It can be nice to get out and get some fresh air, but it wouldn’t work for, for example, reviewing data slides.

    9. pally*

      Thank you! I’m a note-taking fool. I jot down everything!

      And while I can take brief notes on a binder while doing a slow walk-through of a property (as a member of an HOA), I cannot fathom how I might take meeting notes in a similar manner.

      This would be a no-go for me.

    10. Roland*

      I’ve never taken notes during my skip level meetings. They’re usually for big-picture discussion and questions. If you’re prone to falling on your face from walking and talking then I agree they would not work for you but I don’t think that’s very common.

  7. OrigCassandra*

    Who else immediately thought of the Archangel Gabriel jogging in the park with Aziraphale desperately trying to catch up?

    Gabriel is the OPPOSITE of a good role model for managers.

      1. Elsewise*

        The BBC miniseries adaptation of Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett! For the adaptation, they added a new character who wasn’t in the book, the Archangel Gabriel, played by John Hamm. He was hilarious, total “toxic manager” vibes.

        1. Elsewise*

          I should refresh before I comment, clearly. (Also, why did I think it was the BBC? It was Amazon Prime, the other commenters are correct.)

          1. Csethiro Ceredin*

            It’s partially credited to BBC too! Their logo shows in the credits :)

            And I thought of Aziraphale, too.

        2. OrigCassandra*

          Since it’s being discussed elsewhere in this comment thread, I’ll mention that this same scene has a moment of ugly fatphobia on Gabriel’s part. But the show is VERY clear that Gabriel is a complete nightmare boss and not to be agreed with, on this point or any other.

  8. Dawna*

    I think it would be great for you to sit on a wheelie chair in the center of the track and roll around instead.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Every boxing movie has a training scene where the coach is on a bike or driving a car in low gear while yelling at the boxer. Get creative with that.

    2. AskJeeves*

      Amazing idea. Reminds me of the Parks and Rec scene where Ron is in the circular desk and the woman is jogging around it going “Sir? Sir! Can you hear me?!”

  9. Prismatic Garnet*

    Never heard of a walking meeting; I was picturing a Sorkinesque walk-amd-quip-a-thon

    1. Elitist Semicolon*

      Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly it, though maybe not so much with the quips as Sorkin definitely doesn’t write my lines.

    2. RagingADHD*

      Sorkin’s “walk with me” scenes nearly always have a reason why the characters are actually going somewhere, rather than exercising on a track.

      Though if Sorkin put them on a track, he would write it as most definitely a power play by the boss.

      1. Rumpole's Old Bailey*

        There was that episode of WW where VP Hoynes could only fit Josh in for a meeting while he was jogging. Josh got into some of trouble that time.

  10. Casey*

    This is very validating – my workplace loves walking meetings for 1:1s, and I’m sort of the oddball manager who DOESN’T walk. For me it’s an ADHD thing, where jotting down notes is crucial for me to keep details/action items straight. I envy the working memory of anyone who can remember all the content in a 1:1 on their own!

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Yah, I have ADHD too and I am the kind of person who notices every little tiny detail of a scene and will immediately interrupt a conversation to point out a really cool bird or plant or something. I wouldn’t be able to pay any attention to what was being said in a walking meeting at all. And yeah, notes….I definitely need to take those in meetings.

      1. JaneB*

        I didn’t even think to mention the distraction potential of walking outdoors! Cool rocks, plants, clouds… so many distracting things (& there’s a huge squirrel population where I work…)

    2. Billy Preston*

      Right?!? me too. I need notes or I wouldn’t remember anything from a meeting. Also the distractions of everything while walking, especially birds. Avid birdwatchers can’t turn off our brains like that lol

  11. The Baconing*

    I’m not convinced a ‘walking skip level’ is a good idea in the first place. When I have skip level meetings with my grandboss, I usually would prefer they be behind a closed door so that I’m comfortable and safe in discussing topics that I’d rather not be spread to ears that don’t need to hear it.

    Also, work is a place for business, not a place for socializing or meeting weight loss goals. I think our corporate work culture, especially in the West, has lost sight of this fact. It’s great if we do make friends at work, and, during breaks, it’s great if we work on our fitness, but our primary focus should be on the thing that has us there to start with, which is the work that feeds our paychecks. I think, too often, we forget that work shouldn’t be so mixed with the personal as we tend to do, and I think OP’s grandboss may have lost sight of the fact that she should be focused on managing her people first when she’s at the office instead of trying to multitask her work and her personal outside-of-work goals.

    But, perhaps that’s just me getting cranky in my old age?!

    1. bamcheeks*

      I think it’s an effect of long-hours culture. If work is 8-10 hours of your day and 40-50 hours of your week, it feels kind of inevitable that work becomes your place for exercising and other health goals, socialising, celebrating life milestones, even gaming and social drinking at the extreme end. Personally I’d rather work six hours and have my own time to do all that stuff!

      1. The Baconing*

        Me, too; I’m a strong believer in work/life balance. I’ve worked at places that turned toxic so quickly because everything was so intermixed there was no end to the work and no start to the personal. It’s just wasn’t healthy for me.

    2. juliebulie*

      Yes, exactly – these walking meetings are about the grandboss’s convenience. Like, “if I must do skip-level meetings, I’ll combine them with something I actually want to do.” Work is not supposed to be a place where your preferences can take priority over the actual work. Managers should know that.

    3. samwise*

      perhaps that’s just me getting cranky in my old age?! — maybe.

      Not everyone feels like this, but: working with no social interaction can be very lonely. Talking about work topics while walking is a nice way to get some social interaction.

      1. The Baconing*

        I’m not suggesting to not socialize at all. I’m saying that socializing is second string to the work. I’m all for chit chat here and there, especially because breaks are paramount to mental health, but not at the cost of quality of work for my job, which is why I’m even there to begin with.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          I think this really depends on your job. Samwise specified talking *about work* – if you’re doing data entry yeah that might be distracting, but if your job is at all strategic/creative/collaborative then casual outside-of-a-set-meeting chatting can be incredibly helpful to getting your work done.

    4. Prefer my pets*

      I think it really depends on your building structure. We often did walking meetings outside at my last job because the walls were so thin & the hvac vents so odd it was almost impossible to have a conversation that no one could overhear no matter how quietly you spoke.

    5. RVA Cat*

      Seconding the lack of privacy angle. Where are the walks happening? If you’re out in public and grand boss is a foot ahead, you’re talking loud enough people can eavesdrop.

      1. Courageous cat*

        I can’t think of a single place I’ve ever worked that there wasn’t at least some quiet or remote space to walk around, at least where other people in the company won’t hear you.

        I swear I think you guys have come up with every single possible minute angle and possible reason why walking might be bad, and so few where it would be good. I don’t get why we have to demonize stuff like this so much.

        1. GythaOgden*

          Yeah, agreed. And there’s an air of ‘if you disagree you’re X-ist’ which is wild because I actually need the exercise more now I’m disabled than I did before. Limited mobility is often use-it-or-lose-it and I really don’t want to lose it at all.

        2. i like hound dogs*

          No kidding.

          I get why it could be problematic, but some of these reasons are just ridiculous fan fiction.

      2. Elsajeni*

        I mean, we don’t discuss state secrets in my job. There are definitely things I discuss with my boss that I wouldn’t want other people we work with to overhear, but if we’re out in public and a random stranger overhears that we both think Doug in the fundraising office is a pain in the ass, that’s… more or less okay with me! I hope that was not Doug’s mom or anything, but, you know, in the grand scheme of things, who cares.

        I also think we can give people, even people who walk annoyingly fast, some credit for knowing what type of meeting they’re having and whether it’s suited to a particular setting. Sometimes I close my office door for meetings, sometimes I leave it open, sometimes I get up and shut it halfway through because the topic has changed; I would not suggest a walking meeting for the kind where I close the door, and if the topic changed to a closed-door one during a walking meeting, I would say “hmm, let’s get back to this later actually, what about…” and change the subject to something I felt comfortable discussing in public. The grandboss and the OP were both happy with the general idea of making this a walking meeting, so I think we can assume privacy or confidentiality was not an issue at play.

    6. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      I agree.
      However, our work week was 35 hours (DE), 40 for some senior managers, which left plenty of free time to exercise. I wonder if this grandboss has to put in so many hours that she has insufficient free time for all her normal life things. Regardless, she shouldn’t push her problems down the line to her subordinates.

      1. GythaOgden*

        At that sort of level, though, you’re working longer just to get things done (source — both my parents worked their way up their entire professional ladders). People in charge of other people and companies need that drive but also struggle to fit things in that they often need.

        It’s not for all of us, but it’s not an imposition that needs this kind of indignant response. I think the world would be better if we recognised other people’s differences, but that is a two way street. You can’t get recognition for your needs when you refuse to recognise those of other people.

    7. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      A walking meeting could be ok if it is more of a social getting to know you more informally in the fresh air, or discussing broad picture issues such as whether anyone has suggestions about the coffee, snacks, canteen food, other workplace conditions.
      And of course only at the pace of the slowest and if everyone is capable of walking comfortably

    8. amoeba*

      Eh, that probably really depends on your workplace. When I have skip-level meetings, it’s quite different and would actually probably be well amenable to a walking meeting or a coffee meeting or something similarly informal! For us, they’re much more of a “so how are things going, give me a general update about your work life” thing. No notes or action points or privacy required. Obviously that’s not the case everywhere!

  12. Jester*

    I’ve got an excuse for that doesn’t bring fitness into it.

    I get shin splints from speed-walking. I’ve had them all my life, at all sorts of weights, and all sorts of fitness levels. I even got them when I was in shape to run in marathons. Maybe blame wanting to take it slow on something like that?

    1. Michelle Smith*

      Being in a larger body increases the risk of shin splints. Unfortunately, despite your personal experience, this reason still could invoke the discriminatory response OP is trying to avoid.

      1. Someone*

        I had them from speed walking even when I was super skinny and could speedwalk a mile much faster than I can currently run one (assuming I could run a mile right now, which I probably couldn’t). I do tend to walk faster than a lot of people just in general, but I’m tall.

        Walking meetings, IMO, are really only good when you need your boss or someone for only a few minutes to clarify a specific topic and the only way to get any of their time is to walk alongside them to their next meeting, then pivot back off to your desk.

        Although I have worked in office buildings or campuses with nice outdoor areas, and some days, walking over to an isolated bench by the lake (retaining pond) and meeting on the bench (can sit and take notes & look at one another), then walking back would be quite nice.

  13. watermelon fruitcake*

    A strictly practical observation: if somebody is staying a foot ahead of you the entire time, consistently, always a couple steps ahead of you and the gap never widening… That means they are walking the same speed you are, they are just keeping in front. TBH, being a faster walker could be chalked up to natural walking speed, but walking ahead of somebody, even at their own speed, seems deliberately rude, like a weird sort of power play, or even a personal need to feel like she’s walking faster by always being a step ahead. Nonetheless, I agree with Alison and am still inclined to say that you were overthinking assuming she must judge you for being “fatter” and “a lazy slob” simply for having a slower walking pace, unless your boss has demonstrated this kind of prejudice in other ways. Like, do you suspect she is only inviting you to walking meetings because of implicit bias against your body type? Or is she doing this for everybody because she is legitimately (if inconsiderately) prioritizing her own wellness journey?

    In my opinion, as somebody who works toward fitness, that’s a choice I’ve made for myself and not something to drag my colleagues or subordinates into. This might be a privileged suggestion, but I got myself a walking pad in front of my work desk, so I can walk and work when I am so inclined… If she’s in a position to afford one of those, and if you have the rapport to casually suggest it, it might be a solution that would let her walk while others can comfortably sit. (She can still do laps with people who want to join, of course. But this lets her pursue her goal without dragging unwilling participants into it.)

    1. JSPA*

      Relative placement, outside, can have purely practical considerations, too.

      As I age, my hearing is better in certain directions (though of course, the wind modifies the exact geometry). And (as my parents and grands before me) I have a better and worse side.

      Yeah, people sometimes do power plays! But nature and time are often the simpler explanation.

      1. IneffableBastard*

        It’s harder for the person a foot behind to hear, even if they have very functional ears. Bonus points if the wind or hoodies direct the sound to the wrong side.

  14. Unkempt Flatware*

    I don’t like doing work things outside of the office. I have co-workers who always want to take meetings out on the picnic tables and I hate it. It’s hard for me to focus out there, I hate not having access to all the things I may need (bathroom, project files, internet, etc), I don’t like being in the sun, and I find it hard to re-focus on work once I get back to my desk. Going outside makes my brain and body think work is over now. If a boss was the one who asked me to do walking meetings, I would find it even harder to say no.

    1. Too stunned to speak*

      I am a naturally fast walker, so I am the rude boss in this scenario, but I fully agree that the pace should be set to what the slower walker is comfortable with.

      I will say that I have to consciously and continuously focus on my stride to match the other person’s (long legs), so if I shift focus to the topic of conversation, I’m likely to unintentionally drift ahead until I notice and adjust again. But if it helps to hear, the thought replaying in my head is always “Slow the F down, you’re making it awkward,” not “Why is this person so slow/lazy?”

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Yeah, I’m another person who will go to my “natural” pace whenever I get distracted. So the more interested I am in the topic, the less attention I’m paying to matching pace. I’m always happy to slow down when my walk partner points this out, though.

    2. Inkhorn*

      “I don’t like being in the sun.”

      This is me. If you want me in an outdoor walking meeting, you need to give me enough notice to reapply my sunscreen and let it soak in. Then, unless you’re as short as I am, you need to accept that you’ll be spending the meeting talking to me through my umbrella. And even with full protection I’d prefer to be inside.

      Pale ginger in a fiercely sunny climate – no meeting is worth risking melanoma.

      1. Freya*

        My Sun Bella umbrella was the best purchase I made myself last year – SPF50+, and dignified enough looking to take to formal events

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      I was the class oddball who hated the “it’s so sunny, let’s have class outside!” suggestion. I don’t like sitting on the ground and I overheat super easily.

      1. i like hound dogs*

        I’m with you on that one. I love the outdoors, but even at age 18 I found it awkward to sit on the ground with no chair and try to have an intelligent conversation.

    4. Mermaid of the Lunacy*

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I get a weird anxiety about doing work meetings outside. I think it’s exactly what you say – it’s so hard to re-focus when you come back into the office.

  15. NotaWalker*

    Ugh. I have such a bad experience with this. I have chronic illness/pain that I don’t disclose in the office because it’s not really relevant to my work, and I don’t want judgment for it. However, I had a boss who decided to hold walking meetings–with 4 people, mind you–all of whom walked and exercised regularly together except for me–I was given the option of declining, but then I would have missed out on the meeting! Adding to the optics are that I was younger than everyone else and therefore *looked* healthier. I was miserable and in pain, but didn’t feel like I could complain since I had “opted” in after asking if we could meet in the office and being told no–but I could just not come! This only ended after the boss in question was let go for other reasons. After that experience, I would never hold or encourage anyone to hold a walking meeting because you just don’t know what’s going on with other people, but that’s my bias.

    1. Czhorat*

      Yeah, outing otherwise invisible disabilities is one of many reasons this is a just plain bad idea.

      I’m sorry you had that experience; it sounds like there was no good way out of it (the strategy of waiting for your boss to get fired for something else is probably not a reliable one).

    2. WoodswomanWrites*

      You said no and your former boss chose the walk over including you in the meeting? Wow, that is just so wrong.

      At my current workplace, my manager and I sometimes go for a walk when we have our weekly check-in. However, my manager already knows that I enjoy walking and we do it only if both want to. We happen to work in a scenic place, and it’s a stroll not a power walk. For more focused work, we’re in the office with our laptops and notepads.

  16. NeedsMoreCookies*

    I would think that it’s pretty rude to have a meeting with a subordinate where you’re turning your back on them, not making eye contact, and making them talk to the back of your head. Also, you’re walking away from them the entire time. If Grandboss’ fitness journey is so much more important than managing her staff, to the point that meetings are just something to keep her distracted during workouts, then maybe she should just quit her job and find some podcasts to listen to at the track.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Yes, in an f2f meeting, people need to actually see each others’ faces. The grandboss is ignoring one of the fundamental requirements / professional manners.

  17. Llellayena*

    Anyone else instantly think of West Wing? Walking meetings are common on that show, but the number of times they’ve gone down the wrong hall or in opposite directions midsentence makes this not super practical. I agree that the pace should be based on the slowest person (WW did NOT do this) and that the two people should be able to talk without one person talking to the other person’s back. But I also have difficulty walking adjacent to people when there’s even a perception of a narrower space. Not sure how wide this track is (3′ walking trail? Multi-lane running track?) but the width might be a factor. Do other people who have done these “walking meetings” had the same experience or is it just the LW?

    1. Orv*

      And they were doing it because it looks dynamic, not because it’s practical. But then people in real life starting taking their cues about office behavior from this TV show…

  18. Dr. Rebecca*

    I use a mobility scooter, and while I wouldn’t agree to this in the first place (as others have mentioned, I want a closed door), I would find this *hilarious* because at top speed my scooter equals a pretty fast jog for anyone I’m with. I actually have to turn it from hare to turtle to let people keep up with me now. Power play THAT, grandboss!

    1. MigraineMonth*

      “HR raised a concern about including people with certain disabilities in the walking meetings. Specifically, that the rest of us exhaust ourselves trying to keep up with them.”

  19. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    Walk and talks for me is me going for a walk and saying hi to all the dogs in the work neighborhood that the people around here take out at lunchtime. Plus I can see feeling badly if the higher up is faster than you, like it’s an expectation. When I go out walking it’s to get awayyyy from the work people for 30 minutes. People at my place are crazy about them though. Nothing like getting sweaty and going off to the next meeting. Yes, that’s happened.

  20. CanadianNarwhal*

    I like walking meetings, but there’s definitely hidden hazards to them. Once I (female) was doing a walking meeting with my boss (male), and I got cat-called while we were in the midst of talking. That was _really_ not something I wanted to deal with when I was in a work context, and my boss didn’t really know how to handle it either. I just tried to ignore it and continue with our conversation, but it made for a few awkward minutes between my boss and I.

  21. JSPA*


    “I love walking, and I’m eager to keep doing walking meetings. But I’m a bit self-conscious because I slow down so markedly when visualizing and expressing ideas. That’s OK, right?”

    it says:
    I’m fit;
    I’m thinking hard;
    I care what you think of me;
    I prioritize doing the job, over feelings;
    Occasional mutual slowing would be nice.

    1. Happy meal with extra happy*

      I don’t think this would help – you’re putting concerns on the boss, but you’re not actually asking for anything. There’s nothing there that will stop the boss from saying “okay, not a problem” but still keep walking a half stride ahead. Just ask the boss if they can slow down a bit.

      1. JSPA*

        I read it as, the LW is anxious about the implication of the relative speeds. Not that the meeting isn’t otherwise working. LW slows down, boss slows enough to keep in contact. It’s all good except for the nagging sense that boss could be irked or judge-y over the slowing.

    2. ThisIsNotADuplicateComment*

      This is a very good script if the LW likes the walking meetings and just wants them to be a bit slower!

  22. UKDancer*

    I think I’d be unable to avoid thinking about the “Striding Man” sketch in the Armstrong and Miller comedy show. They have a regular sketch of a businessman who walk down endless corridors while his staff tell him general knowledge.

    So I’d struggle to take the idea of a walking meeting seriously.

  23. mango chiffon*

    Sounds miserable!! This happens to me when I’m walking anywhere with my brother who is a half foot taller than me and not fat like I am. I also start sweating immediately as soon as I’m not just ambling along. Honestly I would have no other choice than to go what I was comfortable with and just start shouting the conversation, if I could hear across the distance at all.

    1. WS*

      I’m fat and my brother is fat, but he’s also 8 inches taller than me, and this is a common occurrence! Especially as his wife, the other person he walks with, is also very tall, so not an issue for them, even though she has a knee injury.

    2. i like hound dogs*

      I hate getting sweaty when I’m not exercising. I don’t know if it’s a sensory issue or what, but sitting in a shirt with sweaty armpits the rest of the day would drive me bonkers.

  24. M2RB*

    After thinking of all the disability reasons that people have already mentioned, my brain went to “Look, I already got up and did a hard 30-minute spin workout this morning, and now I have to walk for another 30 minutes?? I don’t have the energy or desire for this BS, and I definitely didn’t bring enough food to work to support two workouts.” Then I thought of peri/menopausal people, and how insufferable hot flashes are in a well-ventilated office, and the idea of working out already + hot flashes = big big nope for me.

  25. Anne Shirley*

    Depending on whether your boss intends this to be year-round and what your winters and summers are like, this could be worth addressing sooner than later. Where I am, a “walking meeting” past April would get a hard pass from me. I’ll be damned if I’ll deal with a water bottle and handkerchief, all the while being in work mode and literally thinking on my feet.

        1. Dancing Otter*

          Yes, and a lot of medications advise avoiding sunlight. None of which are grand boss’s business.

    1. Inkhorn*

      I live in the subtropics, and was imagining grandboss trying to maintain her wellness journey on one of our hot humid summer days. That 38C heatwave late last year might have defeated even her.

      Or not. Hot saunas are a health thing, right?

  26. Old Bat in the Belfry*

    Makes me long for 30 years ago when I smoked and my fellow smokers and I ended up having impromptu problem-solving sessions whenever we were outside.

    1. I Have RBF*

      We did this at one company I worked for 10 years ago. We used to joke that our department vices were smoking, drinking and swearing. One reason my mentor and I bonded was that we smoked the same unusual brand of cigarettes. We even nicknamed our usual smoking area the “outdoor conference room”. Even people who didn’t smoke would get up and come outside for a break and brainstorming session.

  27. Calamity Janine*

    an idea that will either be fantastic or terrible:

    you could pitch the idea of stretch break meetings also!

    some standing and sitting stretches are also a way to stay active and might be a nice change of pace – pun not intended there but nonetheless welcomed. and since you’re staying stationary, you can’t get outrun.

    alternatively you could challenge your boss to do walking lunges while you amble at a leisurely pace, if you want to make sure the meeting is over very quickly….

    …but really just asking to slow down a bit should do it. these suggestions i bring up mostly as jokes if you have that sort of congenial relationship with your boss.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Occasionally if it was raining outside so I couldn’t walk in my breaks, I’d do lunges, squats and pressups on the floor in my cubicle (at work I always wore T-shirt, jeans or cargo shorts & Nikes)
      It got the blood flowing. I’d have hated doing this with anyone else though. I only do group exercise at the gym.

      1. BellyButton*

        At my last company I would routinely be in the CEOs office, and he would be doing squats and lunges in his dress pants, shirt, and tie. I get it, I get why he did it, but it made me extremally uncomfortable. It made me feel like he wasn’t invested or engaged in what I was talking to him about.

  28. Elle*

    I’m sure we’re going to get much worse but I’d like to add this to the worse manager contest. It’s disrespectful on so many levels, including to the person who cannot or may not want to walk; if the manager is walking ahead they’re probably not paying attention and no one can take notes or look stuff up.

  29. BellyButton*

    After 35 yrs in the professional workforce WHY am I still amazed at how un-self-aware people are, at how unempathetic people are, at how clueless people are.

    Welp, these people are why I have a very successful career as a org/people/dev leadership leader.

  30. BellyButton*

    Earlier today, one of my colleagues and I jumped on a call where we both exclaimed we wanted to walk on our under the desk treadmill for our meeting, and both attained consent from the other person. We are at the same level, do not report to each other, and we use an AI zoom note taker for our meetings.

    THIS is how you do such things,

  31. LawDog*

    Interesting situation, because twisted ankle = workers comp.

    Careful what you ask an employee to do in the course and scope of their employment!

  32. CoffeeIsMyFriend*

    this would work well for me for brainstorming or really informal check in meetings. I think well when walking. but as Alison said it needs to be really easy to opt without having to reference anything more than, “i prefer sit down meetings ” for all the reasons (and more) many have mentioned above.

  33. Hiring Mgr*

    This may have been mentioned already, but I’d suggest talking to your direct boss on how to approach the “grand” boss – maybe they’ll have insight as to the best way to approach it.

  34. Festively Dressed Earl*

    Walks can be wonderful ways to catch up and exchange ideas in an informal setting. There’s no barriers between you. You can gesture expansively knowing that the other person has room to dodge or duck comfortably. Your brain has just enough squeaky toys in the background to make it easier to focus. But they should never be a work thing between superior and subordinate, no matter how cool a boss you think you are. LW’s boss needs to keep her ‘wellness journey’ to herself and get comfortable going on solo walks when she needs to think, or find like minded people on the same org level who want to walk on lunch breaks.

  35. Captain Swan*

    Walking meetings reminded me of that Michael J Fox movie from the 80s, The Secret of My Success. The CEO had meetings while jogging with his senior staff on rooftop track. Because it was the 80s I guess. the staff in the movie looked pretty miserable so I can imagine how the OP felt.

  36. New Senior Mgr*

    I’m sweating just hearing about this walking meeting. Keep an open mind and ask for what you need. If I were your manager, I’d respect you for that.

  37. That Snake Wrangler*

    I’ve read a lot of anti-walking comments, but I will offer a counterpoint: I LOVE walking meetings. I’ve had them with supervisors, I have them with my staff now, and I often have them with my peers. Walking meetings are always optional, I always offer a choice of office or walking, but here is why I like them:

    1. I live in a beautiful area, and our office has HORRIFIC lighting. The natural light helps my brain re-set, and my staff often comment on how being outside reminds them of why they do what they do.

    2. Walking meetings are, in my experience, good at getting folks to open up. If we are sitting in an office silently, it quickly becomes awkward. If we’re on a gentle walk and there’s silence as one of us contemplates something, it is much more natural. People generally take more time to consider what they’re saying which can lead to really interesting conversations and feedback.

    3. It doesn’t feel as formal! Yes, sometimes a meeting needs a formal setting, but often the less formal setting empowers people who might feel intimidated and unsure in a typical office setting to speak up.

    4. Walks are usually far more private. The walls in my office are paper thin. If I need to hear something uncomfortable or someone needs to have an extremely private or personal conversation about another co-worker, they typically feel much more comfortable bringing it up in a situation where they will not be overheard.

    Walking meetings are not for everyone. They are not appropriate for every situation. But just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean that they don’t have their place.

  38. e271828*

    “Walking meetings” are a stroll, not a workout. They should not involve someone literally doing catch-up.

    I think of them as innately casual and impromptu, not suited for a scheduled, intentional meeting. Grandboss here is focusing too narrowly on her personal journey and on maximizing the utility of her time. This is a workplace where work is done (although it has a track? on which meetings can be conducted privately?), not poets rambling in the Lake District discoursing on aesthetics.

  39. Also-ADHD*

    I like walking and do it sometimes with earbuds in and my mobile during an all call where I’m not talking (I work remotely). But I couldn’t focus to present or do a formal 1:1 that way—especially with a skip level. Maybe a drop in with my boss, because we talk all the time, depending, but if I meet with you once a month or quarter, I’d find that a hard way to focus!

  40. Dancing Otter*

    Grand Boss: “Why don’t we make this a walking meeting?”
    Me: “Sure, I’ll be happy to, as soon as I get both knees replaced. By the way, that will be at least three weeks off work for each one, and a minimum of two months between surgeries.
    “Do you think we should meet sooner?”

  41. Irish Teacher.*

    I fear that, if I raise the issue, it will make my boss think, “Wow, not only is she fatter than me, but she’s not even on a wellness journey like I am! What a lazy slob.”

    Honestly, this would be a completely unreasonable reaction for your boss to have. That’s not to say it’s impossible she would, as people can be really weird and unreasonable, but…most aren’t, so unless you have seen signs that your boss thinks you are fatter than her and judges you for that (even if you are objectively fatter than her, you’d be surprised how often people don’t notice. I’ve heard people who are really thin, even too thin, in my opinion, express quite genuinely that “you’ve got a great figure. I need to lose weight though” to people heavier than them, because well, a) a lot of people have body image issues and b) people don’t necessarily compare very closely and even those without actual issues can be more judgemental about themselves than about others) or that she is getting obsessed with this “wellness journey” and sees it not as a personal choice but as “the right thing to do”TM, I wouldn’t assume she would judge you.

    There are people who think everybody should be on a “wellness journey,” but I suspect they are a lower number than those who just personally choose one themselves or who think they need to improve their fitness/need to lose weight/whatever but think everybody else looks fine as they are.

    Plus a “wellness journey” doesn’t even mean “wanting to be thinner.” I could be just that she feels unfit or that she has been told by her doctor to exercise more or that she finds exercise good for her mental health or a whole load of other reasons.

    Thinking anybody heavier than her (even despite differing body types and so on) should be on a “wellness journey” would be pretty extreme and thinking that they are “lazy slobs” if they are not would be a pretty extreme reaction and even then, just not wanting to exercise while having a meeting doesn’t indicate you are not on a “wellness journey.”

  42. Elsewhere1010*

    I blame The West Wing. Josh and Sam sprinted through those hallways and rooms like over-articulate track and field stars and raised expectations for office workers all across America.

  43. E*

    Uh this was so me at my last job at a health-focused agency, and my long-legged boss always suggested taking the stairs. Despite being in ok shape, I would get so out of breath trying to keep up with her with my short legs! And bc of the constant reminders to “take the stairs for better health” it was hard to say no, but I wish I had brought up the issue in terms of equity for people with mobility disabilities or different fitness levels.

    1. Loredena*

      I had an assignment with people like this. I invariably had to grab my inhaler as soon as I reached my desk but was reluctant to refuse to take the stairs.

  44. Elizabeth West*

    Ye gads, what madness is this? Walking meetings? What’s next, paintball meetings?

    FTR I walk for fitness, but I can’t imagine trying to take notes while doing this. 90% of my meetings are in Teams, and I just want to burrow under the blanket with my camera off.

  45. Amy*

    I had a friend in college who was from NYC and had the city walk (i.e. power walking). I would link arms with them and tell them we need to do a country walk. Obviously, you can’t do that with your boss but using Alison’s language seems like a good plan if you are ok with walking meetings.

  46. Kirby*

    If the meetings are 1:1s, shouldn’t they require a little more privacy? If I had a private issue I needed to raise with my boss, I wouldn’t want to do it outside of a closed door. If you’re walking outside, you may not be overheard by anyone in the office, but why risk it? And if I needed to tell my boss about a private medical issue, I wouldn’t want to do that outside even in front of strangers.

Comments are closed.