Office meetings can be boring and unproductive, particularly if attendees do not pay much attention to what is being talked about. The next time you’re going to meet with your colleagues to discuss plans and brainstorm ideas though, you might want everyone to stand up during the meeting. If you want to make your business meetings more productive and engaging for all those involved, possibly the best move you can make is to remove all the chairs from the room.
A new study published on June 12, 2014 in Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that people who stand up while working together on a project are likely to be more engaged, more collaborative and more creative. They are also likely to share their own ideas compared with teams whose members work while sitting.
The recent study by researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri suggests that meetings are conducted while the participants are standing may improve creativity and productivity.
“A workspace that encourages people to stand up is going to lead to more collaborative and more creative outputs,” Andrew Knight, a researcher who participated in the study told Reuters Health in an email.
The study involved 214 participants who were asked to work together in small groups of three to five students. The 54 groups were then asked to come up with a university recruitment video within 30 minutes and were told that it would be assessed based on creativity.
All the participants were asked to wear a sensor that would measure how ‘activated’ and ‘engaged’ they were. The groups were then sent to work in rooms with a white board, two easels with notepads, markers and a 4 × 3 foot table which either had five chairs around it or none at all.
Knight and Baer found that the members of the groups who stood up tended to be more collaborative than those who sat down during the meeting. Results of the post-activity survey that asked the participants to rate how territorial the members of their group were with their individual ideas also show that those in standing groups were less territorial than participants in the sitting groups. The final videos of the standing groups were also more creative compared with those of the sitting groups.
“Our findings suggest that, in addition to the physiological benefits of nonsedentary work designs, getting people out of their chairs at work may increase their capacity for collaborative knowledge work,” Knight and Baer wrote. “Adopting a nonsedentary workspace may have benefits not just for individual physical health but also for group performance on knowledge work tasks.”
“Organizations should design office spaces that facilitate nonsedentary work,” Knight said, “Our study shows that even a small tweak to a physical space can alter how people work with one another.”