Why stand than sit in that next staff group meeting? There are more than a few good reasons, reveals a new study, including the ability to spur creativity in a group setting, boost group performance and improve interpersonal dynamics between team members.
The study, "The Effects of a Non-Sedentary Workspace on Information Elaboration and Group Performance," by Washington University researchers reports a non-sedentary workspace increases group involvement, decreases territoriality and spurs improved group performance. The study involved 54 groups engaged in a creative task. The study was published online by the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
"Adopting a non-sedentary workspace may have benefits not just for individual physical health but also for group performance on knowledge work tasks. 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," states the study abstracts.
"The manipulation that we investigated in this research-in which we simply removed chairs from the room-was relatively small, yet produced meaningful differences in group arousal and group idea territoriality. Our results suggest that if leaders aspire to enhance collaborative knowledge work, they might consider eschewing the traditional conference room setup of tables and chairs and, instead, clear an open space for people to collaborate with one another," state the authors.
The authors say it is the first study to validate the interpersonal effects of non-sedentary work configurations.
"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 authors note.
During the study effort the undergraduates worked in small teams to record and develop videos. Some of the groups were provided chairs while other groups were not. Students wore wearable sensors to record moisture, which the study says was a way to track participant's excitement in the project.
The study authors, business school professors Andrew Knight and Markus Baser, found the students in the rooms without chairs fared better than the ones who had seats around a table.