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Who you sit with at work can have a big impact on your performance

Posted by on 7:38 pm in Business Insider, Newsletter | 0 comments

Much of the changes in office layouts have not been done scientifically. Oli Scarff/Getty Images The people we sit near at work inevitably impact our day. They may brighten our mood or drive us crazy. What’s more, our work neighbors can actually change how well we do our own jobs. Researchers looked at the 25-foot radius around high-performers at a large technology firm and found that these workers boosted performance in coworkers by 15%. That “positive spillover” translated into an estimated $1 million in additional annual profits, according to new research from Dylan Minor, an assistant professor of managerial economics and decision sciences at the Kellogg School. Of course, the flipside is that bad eggs impact their neighbors, too. Negative spillover from so-called toxic workers is even more pronounced — sometimes having twice the magnitude of impact on profits as positive spillover. Yet, while this toxic spillover happens very quickly, it also dissipates almost immediately once that worker is either fired or relegated to the far physical reaches of the company. Which means that companies potentially have a very cheap way to boost productivity — simply shift some desks around — as opposed to relying on expensive training and recruiting, Minor says. In an era where companies are experimenting with open floor plans and other nontraditional seating arrangements, the stakes can be high. Minor’s research provides tangible takeaways for leaders thinking about how to group their staff. “Companies are realizing that, ‘Wow, spatial management really does matter. Let’s put some more work into thinking about how to do it well,'” he says. The spillover effect This research grew out of previous work by Minor and coauthor Michael Housman of HiQ Labs that focused only on toxic workers. Using data from consulting firm Cornerstone OnDemand, the researchers analyzed more than 58,000 hourly service workers at 11 well-known firms. They found that a toxic worker’s negative financial impact — $12,800 by their calculation — was far greater than the financial boost that comes from a superstar.  Bosses who crave power but fear they might lose it can undermine their teams’ productivity. Minor and Housman presented their findings to the firms involved. A technology company in California that was part of the study approached the researchers afterward and asked if they could drill down deeper into the data. How, the company wondered, did physical proximity impact spillover? “We’ve known since kindergarten that who you sit next to can matter,” Minor says. But it’s not so simple. People are not uniformly good or bad at their jobs; many excel in some areas and are average or below average in others. “In today’s world, most of the jobs we do are very much multidimensional,” Minor says. “We’re not just putting widgets together one piece at a time.” So what did physical proximity do when employees’ work was approached in a multidimensional way? To explore this, Minor and Housman got two years’ worth of detailed information on the performance of more than 2,000 workers at the tech firm. They picked two measures of performance  — speed and quality — and gave workers a ranking of either high or low for each. They also defined toxic workers the same way as in their previous research, as anyone whose behavior was so bad that they were fired. Toxic...

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12 successful entrepreneurs share their favorite tools to stay organized

Posted by on 8:30 pm in Business Insider, Newsletter | 0 comments

Brit Morin of Brit + Co.Andrew Toth / Getty Images There is no one right way to cut through the clutter and keep distractions at bay. It often takes time and trial and error to figure out the strategies that work best for you. Whether it’s a unique app or a simple pen and paper, we asked 12 successful founders to share what tools they use to keep themselves on the right track.  View As: One Page Slides 1. Appeal to your brain Brit & Co Name: Brit MorinCompany: Brit + CoOrganizational tool: I’ve just started using an app called The founders have studied the brain for years and figured out that certain sounds trigger different brain impulses — some of which can aide in focus, sleep, and anxiety. It’s been fascinating to play the music while trying to get work done; it’s like an instant ability to focus in a way I’ve never experienced before. Read more about Morin: This Founder Shares the Secret to How to Make Your Business Last   2. Make your schedule a priority PureBarreCompany/Youtube Name: Carrie DorrCompany: Pure BarreOrganizational tool: Evernote I use for everything, Shazam for music. I use Think Dirty to find toxin-free products because I’m really into that. And Amazon Prime and Instacart too, I love that you can get things delivered during the hours that work for you. I don’t know what I would do without those five. Read more about Dorr: This Founder Shares How to Tailor Your Schedule to Fit Your Brain 3. Send notes to your future self Rachel Murray/Stringer/Getty Images Name: Amber VenzCompany: RewardStyleOrganizational tool: I use my inbox as a to-do list. Whenever I’m out and I think of things that I need to do, I just send myself a quick email or just put in the subject line the thing I need to do, so that later I can just search by my own name to find it. I find I don’t write them down it will get lost. The other thing is actually screenshots. If something makes me remember that I need to do something, or it gives me an idea. I’ll just take a screenshot of it and email it to myself. Read more about Venz: This Founder Shares the Mindset That Helps Her Stay On Track 4. Delegate to a team you trust Bloomberg West Name: Bastian LehmannCompany: PostmatesOrganizational tool: I use Clear; it’s a to-do list app. I also send myself emails. But I’m not really good at organizing time, so it helps me have a chief of staff to work with and to get things done. My advice is to figure out what you’re strong at and what you’re not. Having a team that does that [fills in the gaps] has freed up a lot of my time to spend more time doing the things I love. Read more about Lehmann: This Founder Shares the One Trait He Looks for in Every Hire 5. Use your calendar to change your behavior Steve Jennings/Stringer/Getty Images Name: Julia HartzCompany: EventbriteOrganizational tool: I live by my Google calendar; it’s a compass for navigating my days. Productivity starts with staying organized and calendaring my day enables me to create a structure that empowers me to get things done. It’s also crucial...

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