Exploring Relationship Between Face-to-Face Interaction and Team Performance Using Wearable Sensor Badges

The work environment is built to support work performance. This performance is the key focus of managers in the work place. Human dynamics have been measured in various environments like the medical field, schools, and various social communities to assess performance. In this study, employees in two call centers wore sensor badges and the data collected was used to examine the relationship between their physical behavior and their performance. The badge-shaped wearable sensors are designed to measure physical behaviors by capturing data relating to bodily movement and face-to-face interaction. Employees wore the sensor badges to collect their behavioral data from September 11th to November 10th.

Wearable sensors and device are used to quantitatively capture employee’s activities and provide information without disturbing their work to improve the efficiency of their work processes. The objective of the study was to identify the physical behaviors that affect work performance. The performance standard was measured by the amount of calls per hour. The larger the calls per hour, the higher the performance. By definition, two people have interacted if face-to-face interaction occurs. This is one of the key variables considered when assessing performance levels.

Both call centers evaluate the skill level of its TCs as one of two ranks: 1 (low) or 2 (high). For call center A, a significant difference in skill level was observed between the average performance of TCs with high skill level and that of TCs with a low skill level. However, for call center B, there wasn’t a significant difference between skill levels. It was also understood that the average skill level for call center A was much higher than the average skill level for call center B.

In both call-centers, SVs walk around the TC’s desk to give them support and encourage them to elicit better performance. This intervention is believed to be effective for improving their performance at the job site. Examining the relationship between the degree of interventions and the performance of the entire call center, the results indicated that this intervention does not directly affect the call center performance. After focusing on both TC-SV interaction and face-to-face interaction, results indicated that how an individual behaves does not relate to individual performance.

The next measurement was the relationship between face-to-face interaction and team performance. For call center A, a significant correlation between daily performance and face-to-face interaction was observed. For call center B, a weak correlation between daily performance and face-to-face interaction was observed.

Findings suggest that face-to-face interaction among employees significantly correlates with the call center’s performance. Although there was significant difference between the performances of call centers, daily calls-per-hour of both call centers correlated with each other. This suggests that performance is impacted by external factors. Since the structure of face-to-face interaction was only change for call center A, and not B, and that call center A’s performance changed drastically, it’s clear that face-to-face interactions affect performance. Activeness of workplace (GAL) is significantly higher when facing another person than while being alone. Therefore, the difference in activeness between the two call centers must be due to differences in face-to-face events.

This study has obvious limitations. The type of employee and the nature of their work were individualistic and therefore the general conclusion cannot be assumed universal. The desire to generalize comes with understandable limits and even with other studies supporting the findings more research has to be done. Further limitations include the sex of the participants. The TC population was largely female, while the management and SV population were either primarily male or mixed. This distinction in sex could have caused differences in work place conduct that may have been minute, but significant over the 61-day trial.

In summary, 53 TCs (46 females, 7 males), 8 SVs (2 females, 6 males), and 2 managers (males) were a part of call center A. Call center B included 38 TCs (26 females, 12 males), 3 SVs (females) and 2 managers (1 male, 1 female). Their physical behavior was monitored using sensor badge from 11th September to 10th November 2013. The methods of calculating work performance (CPH) relied on the sensor badges, number of calls, and log-in time to Private Branch Exchange.


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