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The spillover effect: pairing people for maximum productivity

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Sitting near a high-achiever in the office can boost your productivity by 15%, claims researcher Dylan Minor, assistant professor of managerial economics and decision sciences at the Kellogg School.

The influence of a negative coworker, the “bad egg”, is even more pronounced. They can make you two times less productive in your work effort.

What can companies do to minimise the ripple effects of toxicity in the workplace—and maximise the increase in productivity brought on by the star workers?

While both the positive and negative effect of coworkers can be temporary, it all comes down to the office layout. Companies should decide whether to pair workers based on complimentary or similar skills. Those with complimentary skills can influence one another “when the skill in question is something that has a finite upper limit, like speed,” Minor explains.

For skills with no upper limit, such as creativity, pairing is best done based on similar strengths.

“You can actually measure a lot of this stuff [sic] and be pretty scientific about putting together an optimal spatial management of the organization,” Minor concludes.

Read more here: Sitting Near a High-Performer Can Make You Better at Your Job

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