Men and women prefer single sex offices - but are MORE productive when they work with the opposite gender, study claims
Study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claims men and women are happier in single sex offices
However, they're more productive when sharing space with the other gender
The researchers looked at a US employee survey from 1995 to 2002
Overall single sex offices reported being happier
But the study found that mixed sex offices would turn a larger profit
By DAN BATES Dr Sara Ellison, a senior economics lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who co-authored the study, said: ‘We all think that we want to be in this pluralistic society in a diverse setting.
‘But when push comes to shove, when our co-workers don’t think like we do, that can cause some friction. ‘
‘ liked the idea of diversity more than they liked actual diversity’.
The researchers looked at a US employee survey from an unnamed Boston professional services company carried out between 1995 and 2002.
The firm had 60 offices around the world, some of which were men-only, and some were women-only.
The survey measured cooperation, trust and work enjoyment, and the researchers cross-checked the data with figures on company revenue and diversity.
Overall, single sex offices reported being happier, but there was a twist when it came to company profits.
The researchers found that if single sex offices had been mixed sex then revenue would have gone up by about 41 per cent.
Dr Anne Litwin, a Boston organisational development consultant, said that she was not surprised by the findings.
She said men in particular found it harder with women around because they had to watch what they say, and that 'they feel like their equilibrium is being thrown off, and it’s uncomfortable.
Dr Litwin added that women by contrast ‘feel like they have to be assertive to be heard, and then they get accused of being the "B" word. They get told that they’re hard to work with.’
However, the research challenges the theory that happier workers are more productive.