The worst thing that can happen to any workplace is for people to get stuck in a rut and stagnate. Changing where people sit is a great way to get new ideas and breakthroughs, and Kayak’s co-founder Paul English has started using new hires as an excuse to shake things up a bit.
Christian Catalini, an assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, examined scientists who were shuffled around different buildings and found that they experimented more. The shake-up produced some bad ideas but also more breakthroughs. Catalini says:
Grouping workers by department can foster focus and efficiency, but mixing them up can lead to innovation.
Keeping in step with that, Kayak’s English alters the existing layout and thinks about each worker’s immediate neighbours whenever there is a new hire. In one of his experiments, he repositioned a “loud” member to a quiet group and got them to open up.
While this is mainly possible if you are in a managerial position, you can also look at changing your own seat when there is a new hire, or approaching your boss to make changes.
The New Science Of Who Sits Where At Work [The Wall Street Journal]