Community bankers spend lots of time in meetings. Whether discussion loans, planning, interest rates, management matters or something else, meetings are woven into the very fabric of the industry. These meetings are important, but if you had a way to make them 33% shorter with the same level of results, would you do so?
The good news is that researchers at the University of Missouri's School of Applied Psychology may have found a way to do just that. They tested 555 students, dividing them into 111 groups of 5. The groups were asked if they had crash landed on the moon, to rank 15 items from a list which would be the most important to get them back to safety. Half the teams met in a room with a table and chairs, the other half met in a room which contained no furniture and were told to remain standing for the duration of the meeting. The groups had to rank the necessary objects in order of importance. The hypothesis assumed that the standing groups would be less comfortable, would rush through the process and therefore make more errors. In fact, the opposite turned out to be the case, as the standing groups worked faster yet achieved the same results as the sitting groups.
There are a few factors involved worthy of discussing further. Standing has been described as a "power pose" by social psychologist Amy Cuddy of Harvard. Body language conveys messages to people around you, but also changes the chemicals in your body. Even if a power pose is practiced in the restroom prior to an important meeting or a job interview, practicing the position was found not only to convey competence, but also to have altered the chemical balance in the body in a manner that assists in coping well in stressful situations. Hopefully most meetings in your bank aren't stressful, but if standing makes everyone's brain function better and gets things done more quickly, why not give it a try?
Beyond that, we imagine you have read this very publication probably while sitting. Are you getting the most out of it, or should you jump up and read it from a standing position? Try both and let us know how it works.
After all, sitting is the new smoking. Studies show it makes us sick and especially those of us who do it many hours a day as bank managers tend to do. Even getting to the gym on a regular basis cannot completely offset what sitting for 8 hours at a time does to our bodies. Here's a short list: Heart disease - our muscles burn less fat and blood flows more sluggishly during a long sit, which in turn allows fatty acids to clog our hearts. Diabetes - our pancreas becomes overactive and produces more insulin but our idle muscles can't use it which can lead to diabetes. Cancer - colon, breast and endometrial. Fatter - mushy abs, tight hips and wimpy glutes. Given all this bad news about sitting, perhaps it is time to chuck the chair and stand up.
As for the results on what you may want to take for your next trip to the moon, the most necessary items ranked in order by the group of subjects were: 2 tanks of oxygen, 5 gallons of water and a map of the constellations to find your way. Least important was a box of matches, since they won't light in the absence of an atmosphere.
After reading this, consider changing the atmosphere in your workplace. Consider adding an adjustable height desk so you can stand for part of the day. You might find yourself getting more work done faster and it just might help you live longer.