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Sensors See More Productivity in Workers ­sing Face-to-Face Interactions

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sociometer sensor device This sensor was worn by employees ata call center in Rhode Island to recordactivity and social interaction. MIT and NYU researchers correlated sensor data with productivity. Sandy Pentland / MIT
Office workers who make time to chat face to face with colleagues may be far more productive than those who rely on e-mail, the phone, or Facebook, suggests a study carried out by researchers at MIT and New York University. The researchers outfitted workers in a Rhode Island call center with a wearable sensor pack that records details of social interactions. They discovered that those employees who had in-person conversations with coworkers throughout the day also tended to be more productive.

The results aren't yet published, but they support research published last December by the same team. This study showed that employees at an IT company who completed tasks within a tight-knit group that communicated face to face were about 30 percent more productive than those who did not communicate in a face-to-face network.

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