Earlier this week the Harvard Business Review published a fascinating piece on how the people we sit near at the office affect our productivity.
The researchers (and authors of the HBR article) Jason Corsello and Dylan Minor collected two years worth of data on more than 2,000 employees at a tech company. They rated each employee’s performance from three angles: productivity (how long it took them to complete tasks), effectiveness (how long it took them to ask for help once it was clear they couldn’t complete a task alone), and quality (how satisfied clients were with their work).
They also looked at spillover, or how office neighbors affected each other’s performance.
“We found that approximately 10% of a worker’s performance spills over to her neighbors. Replacing an average performer with one who is twice as productive results in his or her neighboring workers increasing their own productivity by about 10%, on average,” they wrote.
Pairing people with opposite strengths also boosted productivity. Think, seating someone who works quickly but sloppily next to someone with great attention to detail but a slower output. “Each helped the other improve,” the researchers wrote.
Overall, the findings suggest that if you or your company want to improve productivity, a little seat reshuffling might be all you need.
Read more on HBR.
Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com