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Collegues having a standing meeting

Taking a stand for more creative employees



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Sitting while you work has recently been touted as an office faux pas, with several studies claiming it causes serious health concerns and could even shorten your life span.

But if the scare tactic isn’t convincing you or your employees, maybe this little piece of news might help: A new report has found standing while while can boost group collaboration and creativity.

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Washington University professors Andrew Knight and Markus Baer studied 214 undergraduate students, breaking them into teams of three to five. Each team was tasked with creating a college recruitment video script, and would be judged based on creativity and execution.

The teams that worked in conference rooms which were missing tables and chairs had higher levels of engagement and collaboration.

“Our findings suggest that, in addition to the physiological benefits of non-sedentary work designs, getting people out of their chairs at work may increase their capacity for collaborative knowledge work,” the professors said.

However, creating a culture where employees are more collaborative isn’t as easy as removing the tables and chairs from meeting rooms.

Knight and Baer reiterated their study did not observe “direct effects of workspace on performance”.

“Instead, we found that the physical space shapes performance indirectly by affecting group members’ arousal and territorial behaviour, which together influence information elaboration,” they said. “Our findings show that altering the physical space does not have a simple, deterministic effect on group performance.”

Rather, the study suggest by altering the physical space, it changes how people interact, “which is most proximately related to performance”.

“By increasing arousal and reducing territoriality, a non-sedentary workspace enhances the extent to which people engage in collaborative information elaboration—a key ingredient to high performance on knowledge work,” they added.

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Image: Shutterstock

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