A window seat at work may make you more productive

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The team found that workers who sat near windows reported feeling more productive and focused than those located near walls. Photo: iStock
The team found that workers who sat near windows reported feeling more productive and focused than those located near walls. Photo: iStock

CAREERS


Sitting at a desk near a window may make you more focused and productive at work than if you’re stuck next to a wall, a study has claimed.


After surveying workers in a London-based open-plan office, researchers concluded that having more “visual control” at work makes employees happier and more efficient.

Our findings raise important questions regarding the current popular practice in workplace design of providing large open-plan offices for technology companies.
Study findings


Staff reported being happier when they faced the room, but didn’t have too many other desks – which can provide distractions – in their line of sight.

The findings, the team said, could help employees “build back better” as offices reopen following closures amid the global Covid-19 public health crisis.

The study was conducted by social and spatial networks researcher Kerstin Sailer and colleagues at University College London in the UK.

“Staff in smaller open-plan spaces and those facing the room reported higher satisfaction with team cohesion, sharing information with colleagues, concentration and working productively,” the researchers said.

“Our findings raise important questions regarding the current popular practice in workplace design of providing large open-plan offices for technology companies.”

In their study, which was undertaken before the pandemic began, the researchers surveyed staff working in the London offices of a large technology company.

Respondents – of which there were 172, equal to 16% of the firm’s employees – answered questions about their satisfaction with their workspaces and meeting rooms, which were correlated with each person’s designated desk in the office.

READ: Practical tips for reimagining a digital workplace

The team found that workers who sat near windows reported feeling more productive and focused than those located near walls.

Meanwhile, staff who had higher numbers of other desks in their field of vision tended to rate their workplace environment less favourably.

This, the team suspects, is a result of a greater number of distractions and an increased risk of disturbing others when talking to co-workers, resulting in a chilling effect on teamwork, cohesion and information sharing.

On the other hand, the researchers also found that workers who were positioned so that they faced away from the main area of the room – with the majority of their co-workers out of sight – also rated the workplace less favourably. MailOnline



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