A new trend in company meetings? Have your employees stand. The practice is increasingly popular, especially at tech companies, thanks to the growing popularity of an approach to software development known as "Agile." Standing meetings are typically brief, participants are expected not to ramble on or pontificate, and tardiness is punished—sometimes by $1 fines, sometimes by forcing latecomers to sing "I'm a Little Teapot." In one extreme example, standing meetings were held in an unheated stairwell in order to ensure their brevity, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The intended result? Meetings that are more about productivity, and less about participants playing Angry Birds under the table. Studies have shown that stand-up meetings are shorter than sit-down meetings but still of the same quality, the Journal notes. Employees participate—often by giving brief updates on what they've accomplished since the last meeting and what they will work on before the next one—but practices are in place to keep them from droning on too long, like passing around a 10-pound medicine ball or holding up a rubber rat to show that time is up. (Click for more on the trend of stand-up desks.)