Standing Room Only

On a recent flight, I read an article about a company that does “firestorm meetings.” They are like brainstorms, but they are high intensity, fast paced and conducted standing up. I can’t find the article for the life of me now, but the concept stuck, so a few of us at the office decided to try it.

Our meeting had two agenda items: 1) debrief a client meeting to the team, 2) delegate assignments accordingly. Five of us attended the meeting held in our break room – it’s the only table we have that is bar height so we could all stand around it for the duration of the meeting.

While it felt awkward at first, we quickly moved into action. Despite laptops on the table in front of us, none of us multi-tasked. We all stayed focused and pushed through the entire agenda in 15 minutes. The energy was high and every team member was engaged. We’re now planning to purchase another bar height table so we can do stand up meetings on a regular basis and not block others from getting to the fridge.

Apparently stand up meetings are not new. Military held stand up meetings during WWI. And a study by Allen Bluedorn in 1998 found that standing meetings were about a third shorter than sitting meetings and the quality of decision-making was about the same. 1

Stand up meetings may be good for business efficiency and also good for employee health. Get this: After just 90 seconds of sitting, important cellular responses kick in so you don’t process glucose as easily and after 30 minutes in a chair, your triglycerides start to climb. But when you stand up, your metabolic rate increases and your body processes cholesterol more efficiently.

The good news is that getting out of your chair and walking for ten minutes can counteract the ills of oversitting and improve work productivity.1 Apparently “walk and talk” meetings are the next big thing.

So ditch the ergonomic chair and get on your feet for your next meeting. Then comment here to let me know how it went.

– Jane Olvera Quebe, President

1Vogue Magazine. October 2013, page 288.