Standing Meetings: The Benefits of Standing Up

Last week we highlighted the benefits from walking meetings. Today, we highlight benefits for those who don’t have the time or space to walk: Standing meetings.

We noted a New York Times piece that “a helpful new study of walking speed and health concludes that the answer seems to be about 100 steps per minute, a number that is probably lower than many of us might expect.”

The conclusion: “A cadence value of ≥100 steps/min in adults appears to be a consistent and reasonable heuristic answer to ’How fast is fast enough?’ during sustained and rhythmic ambulatory behaviour.”

We noted that this rate might be fast for many walking meetings, but it’s useful information for workplace wellness programs.

Now a Workplace Insights report raises a different health topic: Standing meetings. It notes:

“People who stand in meetings may enjoy a number of health benefits, but it can also make them feel self-conscious, anxious about how others perceive them, and disengaged from the meeting.”

“These findings… suggest that efforts to encourage office workers to sit less and move more must acknowledge the realities of the workplace that conspire to keep people chained to their seats.”

“Sitting has been linked to adverse health outcomes, including increased risk of obesity, heart disease, some cancers, and poorer mental health. While some evidence suggests that the harms of sitting can be offset by at least one daily hour of moderate physical activity, this seems an unrealistic target.”

“Most of the UK population fails to meet physical activity recommendations and spends prolonged periods sitting. Office workers, who make up half of the UK workforce, are particularly inactive. Our 2015 study of 164 London workers found that, on workdays, they sat for 10.5 hours of the 16 hours they spent awake.”

As we will note tomorrow, the report highlights many of the benefits — and some concerns to watch for — in holding standing meetings, which can become a useful form of engagement and even program design for a well-run workplace wellness program.