The Science Behind Getting the Best Seat in the Office

A team from University College London has worked with a large global tech company based in the City of London to research staff experiences in respect to open-plan working. Results showed that desks by windows and those in a smaller grouped layout were found to be more favourable by staff.

With many offices preparing for the return of staff to the office, researchers advise that businesses should keep these findings in mind when looking to support members of staff transition back to the office from home-working.

The survey included 172 employees and found some interesting links to desk location and productivity levels as well as staff perceptions of the workplace.

Responses to the survey included:

  • Staff with desks next to windows felt more productive and focused than their counterparts who had desks located by walls
  • Staff seated in positions that faced into the room, but with few desks in their line of sight found that they felt more focused and more connected with their team members
  • However, staff also facing inward to the room, but with more desks in their line of sight felt less positive about the working environment
  • The least favoured position was found by those facing away from the room with lots of team members sitting behind them.

Prof. Kerstin Sailer, lead researcher from the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London told a recent interview; ‘Our findings raise important questions regarding the current popular practice in workplace design of providing large open-plan offices for technology companies.

‘Staff in smaller open-plan spaces and those facing the room reported high satisfaction with team cohesion, sharing information with colleagues, concentration and working productively.’


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Carrie Plummer - Editor & Content Manager

Mental Health and Wellbeing News

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