Knowledge Share
Leaner Article

Dale Patterson, Design Strategist and founder of Jurnee Design Studio shares with us his thoughts on why Leaners play such an integral part of the modern office landscape.

Being a designer in a co-working office with a company that sells my product enables me to see how the things I’ve designed work and how they are used by others. Here are 6 things I’ve learned about standing meeting tables.

1. The table remains the tool that allows us to know something important is about to be shared. You’ve organised a team around a shape in which everybody looks at each other and this readies us for exchange. The size of the table determines the size of the meeting. Stick to small shapes as we’ve learned optimum meeting sizes are about 5 people.

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2. Standing meetings are short as you are subconsciously aware you can’t stand for long. Meetings longer than 20 mins are unusual and meetings that take longer than peoples attention span are unproductive… right? Of course, this doesn’t work if you provide chairs. When standing, you have more freedom to gesticulate, this allows us a greater communication range. Body language is a significant component of how we understand each other and we know that what we say is not always what we mean so standing offers a greater opportunity to express ourselves accurately.

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” – Peter Drucker.

3. They’re not called “bar learners” for nothing. Standing meetings feel informal, they feel like a conversation among friends. This enables us to share freely and not hold back on things that maybe inhibiting our objectives. This informality may, for example, lead to sharing mistakes. Comfort in discussing and learning from mistakes suggests your company and its culture are in good shape.

4. Standing meetings are conducted at closer proximity. This makes it easy for people to be heard and discourages people talking over each other and minimises the disruptive use of technology in a meeting. Therefore nothing is missed and everybody contributes evenly, this will encourage greater teamwork, unification, and trust.

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5. To maintain mental and physiological balance it has become very clear daily exercise is required. It takes more energy to stand than sit so it makes sense that a moderate amount of standing will lessen the amount of daily exercise required. You can increase the amount of exercise during a meeting by passing a heavy object from speaker to speaker. Watch your meetings become lean and cooperative and highly focused employing this little gem.

6. We now know that too much sitting is not good for us, it contributes to things such as obesity, diabetes, dementia and heart disease. But did you know that we think differently when we stand?
Emerging evidence suggests exercise in the form of standing regulates brain glucose. Glucose imbalance is a possible contributor to depression and anxiety. Another significant study points to improved mood. Participants who stood showed a clear mood boost, less fatigue, tension, confusion, and depression, and more vigor, energy, focus, and happiness. When they went back to their old desks, their overall mood returned to baseline levels.