Testing out different interaction styles can boost productivity, study finds

Friday, November 8 2013
Testing out different interaction styles can boost productivity, study finds

Many remember fighting for the best possible seat in the lunchroom, but few experience such a scenario in the workplace. Yet many analysts believe that where you sit can have a big impact on just how you work, according to Entrepreneur.com.

Sociometric Solutions has done a number of studies on workplace interaction, according to the source, and what it finds is that a disproportionate amount of communication - whether face to face, on an instant messaging system like gChat, or even through email - occurs with people who are directly around you. In some ways, this is to be expected - you are likely to be seated most closely to those who most impact your work. But it can present some difficulties, too.

If you have people in other areas who you need to work with, it's essential to make sure the initial gap is broached. It's often difficult to do so with sparse email communication. Video conferencing software, though, can give two people a stronger connection and a more varied one. Many people, according to Ben Waber, president and CEO of Sociometric Solutions, work better in a setting other than the online, text-based on that so many operate in exclusively now.

"Think about who your people are and how they work before you start making decisions about how to get them to interact with other employees," he said, according to Waber. "If you make changes without taking that into consideration, it could be a waste of time."

It's a common saying, as the Kansas City Star notes, that "familiarity breeds contempt" - but studies such as this simply are proving it untrue. Different people work best in different ways, and for some, it's important to have face-to-face communication. It's made easier with collaboration software.