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Planning Strategic Seating to Maximize Employee Performance

Citation: Greenbaum I., Housman M.G., & Minor D.B. Planning Strategic Seating to Maximize Employee Performance, Santa Monica, CA: Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc., July 2016.

Abstract: Research performed as a collaboration between Cornerstone OnDemand and researchers at Harvard Business School uncovers how the distance between two employees’ desks affects various performance measures.

According to the findings, placing the right type of workers in close proximity to each other has been shown to generate up to a 15% increase in organizational performance. For an organization of 2,000 workers, strategic seating planning could add an estimated $1 million per annum to profit. For organizations looking to increase their returns on the human capital of their workforce, simply rearranging employee seating may be one of the most cost-effective resources at their disposal.

This study measures the effects of performance spillover – both positive and negative – on several dimensions, and finds that it is pervasive in the physical distance between workers. The research also finds that workers have different strengths, and that while Spillover is minimal for a worker when it occurs in an area of strength, the same worker can be greatly affected if the Spillover occurs in his/ her area of weakness. This suggests
a symbiotic pairing of workers in physical space can greatly improve performance. Overall, physical space appears to be an untapped resource that companies can use to enhance organizational performance.


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