How standing can make your meetings more productive
Do you spend a lot of your working hours in meetings? In a survey of 182 senior managers from a variety of industries, 71% said meetings were unproductive and inefficient ¹. Make your meetings both healthier and more efficient by holding the next meeting standing up! A sit-stand conference table makes it easy to vary your working position and incorporate more movement into your work routine, giving you the option to decide what type of meeting is most suitable. Here we explain some benefits of standing meetings – and why they should become part of your workday.
1. Meetings are shorter and more focused
Did you know that meetings last 34% longer on average if participants are sitting down than if they are standing up? ² Because people are on their feet, they are more likely to stay on topic and speak concisely. This keeps the meeting focused, encourages a quicker exchange of ideas and saves time that could be spent on other work tasks. The most successful standing meetings should have a clear purpose and last no longer than 15 minutes. If the meeting needs to be longer, it’s best to vary between sitting and standing.
2. Participants are more engaged
When we stand up, we become more alert and the brain works more efficiently. Research has shown that people who stand up are more engaged and less territorial while working together than when seated, which encourages better collaboration and sharing of ideas ³. Short meetings also keep participants more engaged, so quick standing meetings should be the perfect combination to boost productivity!
3. Stand-ups are a quick and easy way to improve team communication
Stand-ups are an ideal way to catch up with your team. Start the day with a 10-15 minute standing meeting where each member of the team shares what they’re currently working on. This is an easy and effective way to improve communication and get people up to speed with what their team members are doing so they can offer their assistance where appropriate. Standing creates a more casual atmosphere that fosters a comfortable environment for everyone to contribute and discourages people from speaking for too long.
3. Standing is better for your health
Health Secretary Matt Hancock recently called on UK businesses to encourage staff to incorporate more physical activity into their daily routine. Speaking in October 2018, Mr Hancock said: "Workplaces can make a difference: encouraging breaks, offering standing desks, having standing meetings - which in my experience tend to finish quicker too."
Stand-up meetings are an easy way to incorporate physical activity into the workday. Sitting for long hours at work increases the risk of health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Standing up and moving arounds helps combat these issues and also relieves discomfort from back, neck and shoulder pain. When people are comfortable, they concentrate better, which boosts productivity: it’s a win-win. Do you want to take the active meeting one step further? Try a ‘walk-and-talk’ meeting that gives you a chance to get outdoors and get some fresh air – great for boosting creativity!
Don’t forget that meetings need to be inclusive so check that all participants are able to stand for that length of time beforehand, if not you will need to adapt your approach. Sit-stand meeting tables can provide an ideal solution, allowing you to choose when it is appropriate to stand-up and when to sit.
¹ Perlow, Hadley & Eun (2017) "Stop the Meeting Madness" Harvard Business Review, Jul-August 2017 Issue [online] available from: https://hbr.org/2017/07/stop-the-meeting-madness [accessed February 2019]
² Dahl, M. (2014) "Work Smarter: Meetings Are 34 Percent Shorter If You’re Standing Up" The Cut [online] available from: https://www.thecut.com/2014/05/work-smarter-for-shorter-meetings-stand-up.html [accessed February 2019]
³ Lehman, S. (2014) "Standing meetings may improve group productivity" Reuters [online] available from: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-psychology-group-meetings-productivit-idUSKBN0EV29V20140620 [accessed February 2019]
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