Open-plan office workers who are patiently waiting for the work-place trend to die would be better off learning to live with it because they are definitely here to stay. In Australia nine out of every 10 offices are now open-plan and workers are doing their best to adjust to the radical office model.
Companies however keep on making the same mistake when it comes to the open-plan office model. They aren’t paying enough attention to where they are placing their employees.
New research has shown that a worker’s productivity is greatly influenced by who they sit next to or near at work. Harvard Business School and services company Cornerstone OnDemand found that companies are better off grouping workers together who have complementary skills.
The influence workers can have on each other is called "spillover" and management intervention "strategic seating".
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 ($1.3 AUD) in per annum profit.
First, companies have to identify what type of worker each of their employees is:
HIGH: Productive, finishing their work quickly and efficiently.
AVERAGE: Those who land in the middle of High and Quality workers.
QUALITY: Slower, but produce high-quality work.