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The technology we have at our disposal makes it possible for many companies to offer comprehensive remote work options. But a recent study has found that if you want to increase collaboration among your employees, proximity is the answer.
The MIT research looked at the work that went into 40,358 published papers and 2,350 patents developed at the university from 2004 to 2014, and found that actual face-to-face interaction and sharing work space led to more collaboration across different disciplines.
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“If you work near someone, you’re more likely to have substantive conversations more frequently,” explained the study’s lead author Matthew Claudel, a doctoral candidate in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. “You have a better chance of meeting someone, connecting and working together if you are close by spatially.”
Claudel found that researchers who sat in the same work space were three times as likely to collaborate on papers compared to those who work 400 meters away from each other. The frequency of collaboration is halved when researchers are 800 meters apart.
So based on the MIT findings, if you want to create a space that inspires innovation, make it possible for your employees to talk things out face to face.