A healthy workplace can be hard to configure but moving house may help.
The same old ideas and the same faces. Finding refreshing ideas and new approaches at work can be as difficult as discovering a sliver of sunshine on a cloudy April day. New research is showing that there could be a simple solution however, to long days stuck in the doldrums at the office.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University suggest simply changing your work spaces. Why? Doing this essentially forces you to interact with new colleagues that may be unfamiliar.
Sunkee Lee, Assistant Professor of Organizational Theory and Strategy tested his theory in a South Korean e-commerce firm. Lee changed the seating arrangements of 60 sales employees.Those who gained new work neighbors were found to engage in more “exploration”, experimented more, took more risks and made more sales.
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Interestingly, employees with higher levels of experience in the company learned the most from their new neighbors. They were better at learning new knowledge and applying it. New interactions prompted more learning.
“Companies have to always prepare for the next ‘big thing,'” Lee said. “The problem is that many ideas never even make it to the market, and that failure is an essential part of exploration.”
Lee cautioned against creating an environment at the office with “quiet silos” geared towards employees who are seeking more privacy.
“It may satisfy people more, but there could be selection into those areas, with shy people gravitating toward the quiet spaces,” he says. “And that would remove the learning opportunities for introverts and those who could otherwise interact with such people.”
Agree or disagree? It may depend on your personality. Exploring, however, doesn’t sound like a bad idea.