A recent study reports that when companies change the seating assignments of their employees on a regular basis they are more productive. Many offices seat their employees by department. Typically everyone in accounting sits in one part of the building while all customer service representatives sit next to one another. Apparently companies have it all wrong and need to rethink things if they’re looking to boost efficiency. If you want to give this experiment a try in your office, look to network mapping tools so you’re able to appropriately measure productivity.
The study reports that when you move employees around and place them amongst people that work in different departments, collaboration begins. Many times people do their job the way they were trained and don’t question tasks or steps that don’t appear to make sense. People tend to not question things because sometimes they’re not aware of the big picture and aren’t informed on what steps and processes follow theirs. Once people begin interacting with employees in other departments, the study states that employees get a better understanding of how things work from start to finish. Once employees have an overall appreciation of all the players and their jobs, employees are likely to work together to up with better solutions to particular processes.
Research conducted in this study also showed that when employees are mixed, meaning not sitting with their department, they learn other people’s jobs without even realizing it. Through working with other people you almost learn how they do their job subconsciously. When you are aware of how to do other people’s jobs you appreciate a new aspect to the company. By continuing to change employees’ seats you expose them to more and more aspects of the business.
The trend is catching on and some companies are beginning to opt for open floor plans with unassigned seating. The open floor plan means that managers and other employees in higher management do not have private offices and sit amongst everyone else. Employees report that this seating arrangement style makes their bosses feel more approachable because they are not sitting at a desk behind a closed door. When employees are not intimidated by their superiors they are more likely to go to them for help which helps increase output.
Don’t go thinking that playing musical chairs in the office is the perfect solution to solving your workflow issues. When you are constantly switching employees’ seating arrangements there may be some negative consequences. Employees sometimes feel like their workspace is their home away from home and it also gives them a sense of comfort. If their seat is continuously changed they lose their sense of control, which could effect morale. It is proven that when morale is down, employees don’t work as hard or as efficiently. Think about your staff and whether or not they can handle steady change. If you’re looking to experiment with this concept, invest in network mapping tools so you can decide whether altering seating arrangements will help your bottom line.