Study: Want To Climb The Corporate Ladder? Sit Next To A High Performer

WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Getting ahead at work may be all about where you sit, according to a new study.

A study done at Northwestern University found that workers who sit next to high performers often do better work and more of it.

The tapping of keyboards is the main sound inside of an employment agency in Westbury, Nassau County. The staff is feverishly working their contracts trying to find jobs for their clients.

It’s the kind of competition that Mark Rosen thrives on.

“When somebody is on top of their game, you want to keep up with them, maybe even surpass them,” he told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.

That’s music to employers’ ears, and borne out by a new Northwestern University Study.

It found that productivity increases as much as 16 percent when a worker is seated next to someone considered a star or high performer. The study found the star performer influences other workers, even low performers, to succeed as well.

“Producers will gravitate toward producers,” Leslie Tayne explained.

Tayne has her own law firm in Melville in Suffolk County. After years of barely being able to see her staff behind their cubicles, she tore them down to create a face to face environment.

“We put everyone together, where everyone works as a team, and is supportive, and where producers can encourage other staff to be producers also,” she said.

Hiring manager Rich Kleinman said he left his last job because slacking co-workers pushed their duties onto him.

“It’s miserable, it doesn’t allow you to be motivated in your own job. It completely turns you off,” he said.

“I’m so happy we have new people on the team that bring positive energy to the workplace, it’s super important to keeping your sanity,” recruiter, Nicole Intravia said.

The study did find an exception in commission based sales where high performers are traditionally reluctant to share their secrets with lesser performers. For everyone else jockeying for position through, the study’s findings could lead to an office version of musical chairs.

Two other recent studies of supermarket workers and school teachers came to the same conclusion, that star performers boost everyone around them.


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