A new study suggests standing during meetings could help boost excitement in creative group processes and reduces employee's desire to be defensive.
Removing chairs from meeting spaces could be a cheap way to redesign the office space and tackle the health problems associated with sitting for extended periods of time, a SAGE Publications news release reported.
"Organizations should design office spaces that facilitate non-sedentary work," Andrew Knight of the Olin Business School at Washington University said in the news release. "Our study shows that even a small tweak to a physical space can alter how people work with one another."
Knight got the idea to see how standing changes group dynamics when his university was constructing a new building.
"We were particularly interested in the role of a sedentary workspace because standing desks were a new option that was available to faculty members for outfitting their offices," he explains. "We wondered how this type of arrangement would play out for people working together in a group to achieve a collective goal."
The researchers asked study participants to work together in teams for 30 minutes and record university recruitment videos. After they were done the researchers rated the quality of the video and asked the participants to rate how territorial their teammates seemed. The participants also wore a small sensor that detects "physical arousal" brought on by excitement.
The team found that groups who stood up had more physiological arousal and were less likely to be overly protective of their ideas; these factors led to higher quality videos.
"Seeing that the physical space in which a group works can alter how people think about their work and how they relate with one another was very exciting," Knight said.
The study shows that simple changes such as standing during meetings can greatly influence the group dynamic.
"We've really just scratched the surface on linking group dynamics research with the physical space," Knight said "Working in the field, with real organizations, will help us to examine the longer-term effects of physical space manipulations."