Working close to others may result in errors: Study

candice ward/for metro calgary


University of Calgary researchers have evidence that shows workers are more productive when they are isolated from others.

While most office workers might not enjoy the parameters of the cubicle they are assigned to daily, it might actually increase worker productivity according to a study.

Researchers at the University of Calgary kinesiology department conducted controlled experiments and discovered when an individual was given a task, the results were better when they were working in isolation.

"An extreme example would be not to have someone diffusing a bomb while someone next to them was also cutting wires. Working so closely next to someone could result in errors," professor and study conductor," Dr. Tim Welsh told Metro.

The results are likely due to involuntarily modeling others’ behaviour, a deeper level of distraction, Welsh said.

"The cubicle is the right idea. While it’s good for people to be able to communicate it’s better for a person to complete individual tasks in isolation as it will be more efficient productivity."

Senior sales representative for an equipment supply company Kathleen Anderson, 46, divides her time between Edmonton and Calgary, making road trips and meeting with clients while working alone.

"I love it but it isn’t for everybody. You need to be a self-motivated individual. I like working alone because I don’t have the distractions and interruptions that other people with co-workers have," Anderson said.

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