In the study, researchers asked 214 students to form themselves into small groups of up to five members each. The students created 54 groups, and each group was assigned the task to create a university recruitment video within 30 minutes. All participants were equipped with sensor gear able to measure how active and engaged they were during the group activity. The groups were told the video they created would be assessed by its creativity.
Each group of participants was placed in one of two rooms. One room contained a whiteboard, two writing easels with large notepads, writing markers, and a meeting table. The other room had the the same items, but also had five chairs around the meeting table. The only difference in the rooms were the five chairs around the table.
The research showed those groups who had no chairs in the room, and therefore had to stand to conduct their planning, tended to collaborate more with each other compared to the groups who were able to sit down for the meeting. Furthermore, a survey taken by the participants after performing the task showed those who were only able to stand were less territorial than the members of the groups who were able to sit. The researchers also found the standing groups produced more creative final videos than the sitting groups.
The results of the study suggest companies should design their office spaces in such a way that encourages their employees to be more active in meeting environments, as doing so produces a more positive collaborative influence for those meetings. Andrew Knight and Markus Baer, the lead researchers of the study concluded, “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. Adopting a nonsedentary workspace may have benefits not just for individual physical health but also for group performance on knowledge work tasks.”
(Photo courtesy of Improve It)
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