Sign of the Times – Office Edition

man in black formal suit jacket
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I can’t be the only one fed up with the traditional workforce. In the past few weeks there have been several articles suggesting that things are a-changing.

  1. The Necktie

A recent study published in NeuroRadiology suggested that wearing a necktie is bad for blood flow to the brain. I don’t think that neckties necessarily make a person look more tidy. Forbes points out a study in the Journal of Emergency Medicine where 316 surveyed patients didn’t really seem to notice if their physician was wearing a neck tie or not. Whether the doctor wore one or not, it didn’t affect the patients impression of the care they thought they received during the appointment.

  1. About face on Open Floor Office Plans

Yikes. Turns out those “open floor office plans” were even worse for productivity than the old cubes. Everyone seemed to think that an open floor plan would a. save money and b. cause everyone to just be cross pollinating with ideas all day. Not So.   A recent study out of Harvard University said that rather than people actually interacting with their colleagues in person, the face-to-face time decreased by about 70%!

I’d like to see a study done on how many more people call out sick with open floor plans. Seems to me like the flu and various colds spread like wild fire this year according to everyone I know who works in one.   I can’t help but wonder if the new open floor plans were to blame.

  1. Working From Home BOOSTS Productivity

A few years ago a study from Nicholas Bloom , James Lang, John Roberts and Jenny Ying out of Stanford was conducted on 996 employees in a Chinese call center. The study aimed to find if working from home actually boosted productivity. The findings were that the performance of those employees who worked from home during the study went up about 13%. When working from home, employees took less sick days, fewer breaks and used less vacation time. For the employer in the study, working from home seemed to also reduce attrition by 50%. In addition, the firm in the study saved about $2000 for every employee who worked from home mainly because they needed less office space to house employees.

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