Stand-up meetings are an increasingly popular trend in offices and workspaces around the world, involving discussions held by standing participants around (usually raised) tables.
There are a number of benefits to this practice, which this article will explain. However, it is important to do stand-up meetings right in order to get the most out of them.
So, starting at the start…
It is hopefully no surprise that remaining seated for extended periods of time is highly problematic for your general health.
Spending too high a proportion of your working day sat down increases your chances of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and even dementia. Office-chair-potatoes also face a high risk of suffering from Deep Vein Thrombosis, a clot that forms in your leg, often the result of sitting still for too long.
And then there are the problems of posture. Days spent almost entirely at your desk or seated around a meeting table are a dangerous recipe for slumping, inevitably leading to back issues. So widespread is this, in fact, that a survey of 250 doctors ranked musculoskeletal disorders as the most common type of work-related illness.
Stand-up meetings therefore offer a well-needed respite from sitting. They allow you to stretch your legs, recharge your batteries and get your blood flowing.
Standing meetings are a phenomenally effective way of ensuring that meetings stay short and on topic. The reason for this is because of the comparative discomfort of standing for long periods over sitting. When you are sat comfortably, it is much easier to waste time with drifting conversation. In fact, the efficiency of standing meetings is so great that studies show they last, on average, 34% less time than seated meetings.
So, if you find your meetings drifting off topic or going round in circles, getting up on your feet may be the answer.
Standing up during a meeting boosts the attention span and ability to provide a creative, productive contribution.
Researchers from Washington University performed a study on this phenomenon. They asked volunteers to take 30 minutes to plan a short university recruitment video. Some volunteers worked in rooms with chairs arranged around a table and some with no chairs at all.
The researchers found that volunteers who were standing during the session were more likely to share their ideas. Through recordings from sensors worn on participants wrists, the study also found that the standing volunteers were more physiologically excited during the process.
Many of these benefits of a stand-up meeting are only actually advantageous if you do them right. To help you ensure that you do this, we have therefore outlined our top tips for running a productive stand-up meeting:
An hour-long stand-up meeting defeats the whole point. Not only does it mean that you’ve failed to leverage the main benefit of stand-up meetings (the way they encourage concise, productive conversations), but you’ve likely lost the attention of your participants. Whose mind wouldn’t wander after 45 minutes + on their feet? Aiming for approximately 20 minutes is ideal to get the most out of a standing meeting.
Seeing as stand-up meetings encourage creativity, interaction and collaboration, don’t squander that by spending the entire duration reading off of PowerPoint slides. Instead, brainstorm, swap ideas and receive input from the whole team. Stand-up meetings are much more dynamic than seated ones… don’t waste that!
One of the problems some people have with stand-up meetings is that they struggle with cramp or fatigue. However, those problems are much more likely to affect those that spend the entire time stood perfectly still. Even just a slight bit of movement helps improve circulation and prevent cramp. Wander around a little bit during the meeting. Swap who is writing on the whiteboard. Have a dedicated ‘speaker space’. Just don’t be a statue.