Today’s guest post is by great friend and fellow USC classmate Drew Moxon. Drew is an entrepreneur and interactive storyteller, currently working as a Producer on the Gears of War franchise at Microsoft Game Studios. He is a master at connecting people and using technology as a social lubricant. Today, he offers a particularly progressive idea on updating the workplace:
Enter Drew Moxon:
There has been much to-do recently about the health benefits of standing while working. The body is not used to sitting for such long periods at a time, something we never had the evolutionary need to do until the widespread use of personal computers. While standing at work can be great for you physically, its impact on business culture – your organization’s psychology – can be even greater.
I’ve been standing at work for just over a month now, and the change in mindset that has accompanied the new physical routine has possibly outweighed the health benefits. Along with increased energy (slouching in a chair has this incredible power of sucking the life out of you), here are some of the behavioral improvements it can yield in an organization:
1. A mobilized workforce is more likely to solve problems socially
Standing-working encourages social behavior in the workplace by eliminating barriers to moving around – mainly the physical and psychological act of standing up. Most times, an issue is easier to resolve in person than it is over email or IM. Yet, when we have the tools right in front of us, which is more likely to be the norm if we’re already sitting? Walking over to a co-worker (or two or three) can save you time, de-clutter your inbox, and strengthen your team.
2. Increased movement cultivates a proactive culture
Email allows us to put our issues in someone else’s court temporarily – it’s not in my inbox, so I don’t have to worry about it yet. With more movement and in-person interaction also comes the idea that you are responsible for gathering any information necessary and getting buy-in from others.
3. Activity becomes transparent
When everyone is sitting at their desk all day, activity appears the same; a top-performer is nearly indistinguishable from an underachiever. When movement is encouraged, however, it quickly becomes apparent who is actively engaged in their work and who is not. Seeing your coworkers move around and socialize can encourage you to do the same.
4. Face to face correspondence thickens social bonds
Because of the nuances in body language, facial emotions, and spacial cues that internet communications lack (even video to an extent), we are not only able to communicate more effectively, but also fraternize more regularly.
5. Freedom of movement, freedom of thought
When a team is able to flow organically according to in-the-moment needs and unconstrained by their desk chairs, many more ‘innovation moments’ happen – when you run into a co-worker and discover something that can be improved by working together. Having the ability to easily walk away from a problem you’re stuck on and approach it from a different angle presents a huge advantage.
There are only a few of us standing professionals. Imagine your workplace with the whole team standing, bustling around like an open-air market. What impact would it have on your organization’s culture?