Who Sits Where?

4 Nov

The theme of this post is … when it comes to seating …  MIX IT UP.

Three months ago, I was preparing to teach the 40 hour beginning mediation class at UNR Extended Studies. My co-instructors, Betsy and Margaret and I, were trying to figure out how to give our students the best learning experience we could. We decided to move them around the classroom as often as possible over the 5 days of instruction.

You guessed it, there were some people who didn’t appreciate this approach. They liked the predictability of the seat they had chosen when they first entered the room.  And perhaps they had a reason for doing so … like being able to hear or see better.

But then I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The New Science of Who Sits Where at Work” and I realized that there might be lots of merit to our approach.

cubicle-systems-workstation-officeMoving people around can increase productivity and collaboration. Tech companies and small start-ups seem to be leaders in this trend.

Here is an interesting observation from a Boston company that uses senors to analyze communication patterns.  “A worker’s immediate neighbors account for 40% to 60% of every interaction that worker has during the workday, from face-to-face chats to email messages.” Wow – so if the office is mobile, there will be a lot more ‘cross pollination’ of ideas and interactions going on.  How awesome is that.

The research in workplace psychology is fascinating.  Research shows that employees temperaments can be contagious and the most ‘catchy’ is ‘calm and relaxed.’

But my favorite aspect was about getting people to talk to one another more, because increased communication helps us to work together better.



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