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Can changing office seating arrangements increase productivity? Researchers see benefits


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Some companies are trying to increase productivity and collaboration by moving workers from one desk to another, sometimes as often as every few months.

The Wall Street Journal talked to researchers who see merit in the idea and companies that have tried it. Researchers have found that mixing different kinds of workers can lead to innovation, and that moving cheerful workers next to those who are stressed out can help alleviate the negative emotions, the story says.

Companies highlighted in the story include:

• New York advertising agency MODCo Media has tried three seating arrangements over the past few years, the story says. In one instance, the company moved media buyers next to accountants. After the media buyers began to understand the accounting side, the company let them handle more of the accounting work. The company was able to cut accountants and save a couple hundred thousand dollars a year.

• Kayak.com moves workers around when new people join the company. One of the vocal workers was moved next to a quiet group, causing the group to open up and begin talking more often.

• HubSpot Inc., a marketing software company, routinely moves workers around, though it has led to a few problems. The latest: No one can remember who sits where.

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