WFH? RTO? Remembering the Allen Curve and Why It Matters Now

Rita McGrath
5 min readDec 14, 2023

A robust scientific finding from decades ago mapped the richness of information flows against how far apart people sat at work. Called the Allen Curve after MIT’s Thomas J. Allen, who discovered it, it shows a precipitous drop in information flows as people were separated at work.

Who really needs to be within 8–10 feet of each other? And who can safely be elsewhere?

For all the passionate conversations about new working arrangements for the…

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Rita McGrath

Columbia Business School Professor. Thinkers50 top 10 & #1 in strategy. Bestselling author of The End of Competitive Advantage & Seeing Around Corners.