It's easy to forget in a large company that the people you work with are, well, people. A collaborative lunch -- even if you're not discussing work -- can help boost your productivity. Just be sure to bring a big table.
Picture: Michael Coghlan
According to productivity analyst Sociometric Solutions, employees that ate together in large groups communicated more. The effect was particularly pronounced when compared with more intimate seating options:
For ultimate lunch interaction, for instance, table size matters. Sociometric Solutions tracked workplace behaviours with sensors built into office IDs at an online travel company. It had both cafe tables that seated four and longer tables that seated 12. Staffers who sat at the larger table were 36 per cent more likely to interact with each other later in the day. This group was also more engaged. When layoffs occurred at this company, those who'd sat at the larger tables were 30 per cent more resistant.
The results shouldn't be particularly surprising. Humans are social creatures, after all. However, if your company prefers the staggered lunch approach, or if you simply don't factor your coworkers into your mealtime equations, it may be worth revisiting the topic (with your boss, if necessary).