Office meetings can be boring and unproductive, particularly if attendees do not pay much attention to what is being talked about. The next time you're going to meet with your colleagues to discuss plans and brainstorm ideas though, you might want to get everyone to stand up during the meeting.

A new study suggests that people who stand up while working together on a project are likely to be more engaged, more collaborative and more creative. They are also likely to share their own ideas compared with teams whose members work while sitting.

For the study published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science on June 12, Andrew Knight and Markus Baer, both from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., asked 214 students to form small groups consisting of up to five members. The 54 groups were then asked to come up with a university recruitment video within 30 minutes and were told that it would be assessed based on creativity.

All the participants were asked to wear a sensor that would measure how "activated" and "engaged" they were. The groups were then sent to work in rooms with a white board, two easels with notepads, markers and a 4 × 3 foot table which either had five chairs around it, or none at all.

Knight and Baer found that the members of the groups who stood up tended to be more collaborative than those who sat down during the meeting. Results of the post-activity survey that asked the participants to rate how territorial the members of their group were with their individual ideas also show that those in standing groups were less territorial than participants in the sitting groups. The final videos of the standing groups were also more creative compared with those of the sitting groups.

"Our findings suggest that, in addition to the physiological benefits of nonsedentary work designs, getting people out of their chairs at work may increase their capacity for collaborative knowledge work," Knight and Baer wrote. "Adopting a nonsedentary workspace may have benefits not just for individual physical health but also for group performance on knowledge work tasks."

Knight urged organizations to design office spaces that encourage nonsedentary work, as this can have a positive influence how people collaborate with others.

"Organizations should design office spaces that facilitate nonsedentary work," Knight said, "Our study shows that even a small tweak to a physical space can alter how people work with one another."

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