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Standing can promote teamwork

Date posted:  4/16/15 09:15:00 AM Standing within a group setting can improve idea-sharing.

If you are a small business owner looking to attract or retain employees, it's crucial to not overlook the importance that young adults place on teamwork in a professional setting.

The fifth annual Millennial Impact Report, which was recently released by the Case Foundation, revealed that team dynamics are one of the most important aspects of retaining millennial workers. Derrick Feldmann, president and lead researcher of Achieve and the Millennial Impact Project, considers it one of the most vital facets that businesses of all sizes should consider.

"The biggest leverage or influencer for millennials to get involved with causes was a peer, a person - a peer, an equal - within a small group, four to six people overall, that introduced them to or enabled them to participate in some sort of cause issue or cause organization," Feldmann said. "And what we are seeing this year, in the research, there is a correlation. And there is a peer group, and it is at work, and it is your department."

Improving teamwork situations
According to research from Washington University in St. Louis. the work environment offered by a company can greatly impact the way people work within a team.

Research from the university revealed that workers who need to join forces to come up with new ideas will stay engaged and work with better efficiency if they stand instead of sit throughout the meeting.

The report from Washington University claims that physical work patterns encouraged by non-sedentary space tend to spur a less-individually oriented mind frame and can reduce feelings of ownership over ideas, a stark contrast from sedentary spaces where a worker occupies his or her own space in a meeting room.

Sedentary vs. non-sedentary meetings
But how did the report from Washington University reach this conclusion?

Researchers at Washington University asked volunteers to spend 30 minutes working in teams in order to design and record a university recruitment video.

The teams of volunteers worked in either a room that had chairs arranged around a table or in a room with no chairs. After each group made their video, research assistants - who were unaware of the purpose of the study - viewed the videos and rated them based on the quality of their final production.

Research assistants were also asked to rate how the teams worked together and whether team members were "attentive to one another through active listening, reframing of ideas, and/or building off of one another's ideas."

Meanwhile, all of the 214 volunteers wore wrist sensors to gauge excitement levels through their pulse. They were also asked to rate how they felt during the process and how territorial their team members were during the snowballing process.

The University of Washington found that those who stood during the meeting showed higher levels of excitement during the creative process. Not surprisingly, researchers also graded the videos from the standing groups as having higher overall quality.

Additionally, the volunteers who stood during the process felt they shared information better with their team compared to those who sat during the process.

Thus, Washington University concluded that workers in a sedentary situation often become territorial of their ideas and try to protect them from being altered by their teammates.

Using the study as a small business

The researchers of this study believe that small changes to physical space can greatly influence how members of a workforce interacts with one another. This suggests that low-cost redesigns - such as removing chairs from meeting rooms - could greatly improve teamwork and productivity within a company through a higher level of interaction.