Posted on Jul 21, 2014, 6 a.m.
Standing during meetings boosts the excitement around creative group processes.
Many contemporary office settings are including non-sedentary work configurations – such as standing desks – which encourage standing rather than sitting in the course of work. Andrew Knight, from Washington University (Missouri, USA), and colleagues investigated the effects of standing during workplace meetings. The researchers asked participants to work together in teams for 30 minutes to develop and record a university recruitment video. The teams worked in rooms that either had chairs arranged around a table or with no chairs at all. After making the videos, research assistants rated how the team worked together and the quality of the videos, while the participants rated how territorial their team members were in the group process. The participants wore small sensors around their wrists to measure "physiological arousal" – the way people's bodies react when they get excited. The teams who stood had greater physiological arousal and less idea territoriality than those in the seated arrangement. Members of the standing groups reported that their team members were less protective of their ideas; this reduced territoriality led to more information sharing and higher quality videos. Writing that: “non-sedentary arrangements influence interpersonal processes in groups performing knowledge work—tasks that require groups to combine information to develop creative ideas and solve problems,” The study authors submit that: “The results of an experimental study of 54 groups engaged in a creative task provide support for this dual pathway model and underscore the important role of the physical space in which a group works as a contextual input to group processes and outcomes.”
Andrew P. Knight, Markus Baer. “Get Up, Stand Up: The Effects of a Non-Sedentary Workspace on Information Elaboration and Group Performance.” Social Psychological and Personality Science, June 12, 2014.