The Productivity of Socializing

MIT has conducted a recent study that seems to link socializing face to face with co-workers can lead to a 30% rise in worker productivity. This inherently makes sense, and I think it’s crucial to remember that as a manager, you want people to like each other, to spend time together, in or out of the office.


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However, I bet there’s an interesting sub-study here about proximity of workspaces. When working on something soloitarily, I work significantly slower in office than I do from a coffee shop or from home. In the office, I’m interrupted frequently by questions about my tasks or announcements of good news — I’m literally never able to get into a flow state.

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This is not to indict my co-workers, for I’m equally guilty of laying off personal thoughts onto co-worker’s conciousness. By asking someone about a task, I’ve reminded them and can remove that worry/thought from my mind.  It’s human nature to offload these responsibilities as much as possible.

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It’s clear, however, that face to face communication is best for collaborating, and that socializing around breaks in focus points on work is beneficial to overall output. So working in physical isolation makes no sense.  My solution has been to work daily from the office, but to complete some work tasks in the morning or early evening from home, therfore working potentially fewer daily hours in office.

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