As Melissa Dahl wrote last month, there’s evidence that having everyone stand can make meetings shorter without sapping them of their effectiveness. New research is pushing this argument even further: Standing during meetings may also spark energy and increase creativity, leading to more and better ideas.
For the study, the researchers asked participants to spend 30 minutes creating a university recruitment video. Some of the teams worked in rooms that had chairs, while other were put in chairless spaces, and afterwards researchers watched recordings of the process to rate the groups’ performance, while the group members themselves rated the amount of territoriality over ideas that occurred during the process.
As the study’s press release notes, the chairless group performed better:
The participants wore small sensors around their wrists to measure “physiological arousal” – the way people’s bodies react when they get excited. When a person’s arousal system becomes activated, sweat glands around the feet and hands release bursts of moisture. The sensors pass a small current of electricity through the skin to measure these moisture bursts.
Knight and Baer found that 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. “Seeing that the physical space in which a group works can alter how people think about their work and how they relate with one another was very exciting,” Knight says.
So it’s probably worth giving this standing-meeting idea a shot. Unlike Dan Kois, though, you should feel free to sit down when you’re done.