TRADING PLACES

Square has a full-time job listing for a manager of office seating

Obsession
Future of Work
Obsession
Future of Work

To figure out where its employees should sit, the mobile payments startup Square is hiring a full-time employee.

The “capacity coordinator,” as Square calls the job on its website, “focuses on workplace seating management.” The role is “equal parts project manager, data analyst, and relationship builder,” according to the job description:

The person in this role will maintain seating records in Office Space, Square’s workplace management tool, perform capacity analysis, and manage cross-functional seating projects in collaboration with a wide range of people, from facilities vendors to team leads.

Buzzwords aside, office seating charts present an interesting problem. Studies have suggested that employee emotions are contagious, and that placing certain types of workers close together can increase organizational performance. Others have found evidence that employees perform better when they control their space, or if the walls are painted a certain color (Square’s “capacity coordinator” will in addition to seating charts be in charge of furniture, but the job description doesn’t mention paint choices). Silicon Valley companies have long been obsessed with setting up spaces that promote mingling between different types of employees, in the hope that such cross-pollination will lead to new ideas.

Square, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story, will be far from the first company to agonize over the optimal placement of its employees (and managing a large seating chart can be a thorny challenge, as anyone who has planned a wedding can attest). But it may be one of the first to need a full-time worker to tell people where to sit.

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