Workplace Design: The Good, the Bad, and the Productive

Source: Michael Housman, Dylan Minor, Harvard Business School Working Paper 16-147, June 1, 2016

From the abstract:     
We study the effects of performance spillover in the workplace-both positive and negative-on several dimensions, and find that it is pervasive and decreasing in the physical distance between workers. We also find that workers have different strengths, and that while spillover is minimal for a worker when it occurs in an area of strength, the same worker can be greatly affected if the spillover occurs in her area of weakness. We find this feature allows for a symbiotic pairing of workers in physical space that can improve performance by some 15%. Overall, workplace space appears to be a resource that firms can use to design more effective organizations.