Stand up for healthy & effective meetings

Stand up for healthy & effective meetings

By: Jill Mendoza I recently heard an interesting report on NPR regarding “The secret to more productive meetings?  You might simply need to stand up.”  In the report a pair of professors at the Washington University’s Olin Business School, asked the questions: “Should the standing trend expand beyond ones workspace?  Could it help meetings, too?” After testing their theory, the Olin professors suggested that standing even for the first half of that hour could engage your team in more productive meetings.   Those who participated in the test standing meetings said they felt their colleagues were more open to their ideas, less territorial, and overall, made a for a better meeting. All this discussion about standing meetings, reminded about the reports a few years ago that fueled the introduction of the “Standing Desk” to the office landscape.   Articles like the “Dangers of Sitting at Work and Standing” presented a growing body of medical evidence that hours of uninterrupted sitting can be surprisingly bad for your health.   We also hear a lot of buzz these days about the “economics of wellbeing” and how “poor health and wellbeing among workers negatively affects individual performance and organizational productivity.” The most interesting piece of this whole “standing trend” is that it is not necessarily a “new concept” at all.  If you check out this description of “Stand-up meeting” from Wikipedia, you will find that software developers have used this type of meeting in their agile software development processes for years.  The term “stand-up” derives from the practice of having the attendees stand at the meeting, as the discomfort of standing for long periods helps to keep the meetings short.  There are three questions to ask and answer in the daily stand-up. Though it may not be practical to limit all discussion to these three questions, the goal is to stick as closely as possible to these questions:

  1. What did I accomplish yesterday?
  2. What will I do today?
  3. What obstacles are impeding my progress?

According to the publication “A pocket guide for effective stand-up meetings”, Stand-ups become inevitable when:

  • A team member spends significant amount of time in other projects.
  • Teams are spread across departments or location.
  • The team size is pretty large (6 and above).
  • Inception of the project where there are lots of unknown variables.
  • There’s lots of confusion within the team.
  • A new member joins the team and is not aware of the work done by the team and also helps in knowing other team members.

Given the added benefits of increased effectiveness and healthiness, perhaps we all should be standing and conducting some of our daily meetings like software developers have been doing all along!

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