Tag Archives: Standing Desk

Want Better Group Performance? Try a Standing Meeting

In keeping with the theme of “standing” being better for us from earlier this week, I thought I’d tackle another journal article discussing the merits of standing. This time, the research included participants well-beyond the 2nd and 3rd grade, but still used students — university students, that is.

While the article from earlier this week focused on individual performance, this article looked at how standing can have an effect on group performance. In particular, how standing can have an effect on how we participate in groups. From the research:

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.

Of particular note in this field of research is the plethora of studies (or at least ideas) people have about how things can have an effect intrapersonally. That is, how to have an effect on an individual. There’s the idea of wall colour, nature, proximity to other workers, and on and on. But this study, as the researchers noted, seems to be the first that studied how standing can have an effect interpersonally.

Similar to the article from earlier this week, I’m interested in future or other applications for this research. One obvious application was noted by the researchers towards the end of the article: leaders of organizations usually have a choice over the setup of the office, so simply removing chairs in meeting rooms and opting for more of an open-space might be useful.

As I thought about this, I wondered about what it would be like for a Board of Directors to meet in a room without table and chairs. Would a Board of Directors scoff at the idea of not having a typical boardroom? I’m not sure. So then I thought, what if there were a bigger table in the middle, but the table wasn’t meant to be sat at and instead, it was meant to be stood at. If you can get past the odd grammar of the last sentence, consider the kinds of tables you might find at the “before” of any event. You know, if you go to a wedding or some sort of gala, they’ve got the “higher” tables where you can put your drink or maybe there’s food or what have you. What if there were a bigger table like that for Board Members (of people in the meeting) to congregate around? That might do the trick.

Thinking about Board Members getting together might be a bit off-track because they won’t be meeting daily as your group(s) probably will.

Nonetheless, the idea remains the same. In the “breakout” rooms in your office, maybe instead of having the prototypical table and chairs, it’s just an open room with… a whiteboard?

ResearchBlogging.orgKnight, A., & Baer, M. (2014). Get Up, Stand Up: The Effects of a Non-Sedentary Workspace on Information Elaboration and Group Performance Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5 (8), 910-917 DOI: 10.1177/1948550614538463

Stand and Deliver: We Think Better on Our Feet — Literally

Did you see the post from ScienceDaily a couple of months ago? As it turns out, we think better when we’re on our feet. Maybe more importantly though, given how much we tend to sit throughout the day, standing is a good way to change things up (and standing is actually better for us than siting).

This study looked at standing desks in the context of education. In particular, with regard to elementary school-aged children. Given the epidemic of obesity, particularly in America, it certainly seems like a good idea to try and tackle an issue at one of the roots (sitting). While we already know that as a general rule, standing is better than sitting, the researchers were interested in how this would affect the academic performance of students. The results obtained indicate that there are no adverse effects on engagement for those students who were standing. Translation: standing desks don’t negatively affect academic engagement. Wonderful!

Of course, the researchers make it clear that this applied to the sample they studied (about 300 students of 2nd-, 3rd-, and 4th-grade age, from three schools in one suburban school district), and that there’ll need to be replication. The thing that I’m most curious about moving forward is different ages. In particular, older students. I presume that there’d be similar effects found in 6th and 7th grade and for teenagers as well, but it’d be great to see this confirmed with data.

Why stop at high school, though. It’d also be great to see this for university students. I suppose you can see where I’m going with this, right?

Whenever I go to a conference or a talk somewhere, there are almost always a handful of people who can’t bear to sit through the whole thing and it’s not because of a lack of engagement from the speaker. It’s probably a combination of factors, but what if it’s also because they find that they (the audience members of the talk) can be more engaged when they’re standing in the back of the room (or off to the side)? And if, as adults, we think that we’re better engaged in what the speaker is saying when we’re standing, why don’t we also offer that same option to our kids?

ResearchBlogging.orgDornhecker, M., Blake, J., Benden, M., Zhao, H., & Wendel, M. (2015). The effect of stand-biased desks on academic engagement: an exploratory study International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 1-10 DOI: 10.1080/14635240.2015.1029641