Polly Jeanneret's HR agony aunt: Staff on the run

Polly Jeanneret By Polly Jeanneret
from a leading London-based firm, HR expert and employment lawyer

This article was originally featured as a HR agony aunt in the November 2017 issue of LPM. To read the issue in full, download LPM.

Are ‘walking meetings’ a good idea?

It’s a good start that you know what they are. For those who don’t, ‘walking meetings’ are the latest craze born out of the notion that your bog-standard in-office meeting doesn’t actually achieve anything, because no one says what they mean and no one reaches agreement on anything. In the main, utterly pointless. To combat this unproductive facet of our working lives (which also, by the way, leads to chronic sedentarism), Public Health England recommended that we all: “Go out for a walk and get some fresh air for a meeting.”

For law firm workers, I can see a few challenges here. Where do you walk? It can be really noisy if you are on the streets of a major conurbation, and, weirdly, often windy (all those skyscrapers creating tunnels). A flapping tie or a nice hairdo undone are not good looks. Nor can I envisage this working with more than one or two colleagues. Who wants to stroll down the street 10 abreast trying to catch what the person in the middle is saying? It'd look like a politician being mobbed by the media. But having said all that, yes, I do think they are a great idea – not least because it’ll help us do our recommended daily 10,000 steps … 

We have a keen runner in the firm who has recently come back from the 250km Spartathlon, the ultra-marathon. All well and good, but he is absolutely exhausted and it is affecting his performance. How do we curb his enthusiasm?

If he has actually completed the insane Spartathlon race then you are lucky enough to have one of the most focused and determined employees out there. The Athens-to-Sparta race in Greece, started by a British RAF wing commander in the 1980s, is absolutely mind-boggling. It is completed over 36 hours of nonstop running (yes, NON-STOP running for 36 hours) – some of it up a mountain. 

Put these strengths to good use. He will be someone who doesn’t easily get phased or stressed by difficult projects, he’ll completely get the importance of team work (Spartathlon runners have usually been crew members for other runners before they do the run themselves) and he will have the stamina to see something through to the end – regardless of how much sleep he has had. He sounds like the perfect candidate for profitable merger and acquisition work.

LPM Polly Jeanneret is an expert in HR and an employment lawyer at Halebury to boot – she’s seen and heard it all. Send her your HR questions: ASKPOLLY@LPMMAG.CO.UK


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