PRODUCTIVITY Survey: Chatty Office Neighbors Are Huge Productivity Killers
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PRODUCTIVITY Survey: Chatty Office Neighbors Are Huge Productivity Killers

December 4, 2014

Source: Inc.

Your bright and airy open floor plan might be a thing of beauty, but if it doesn’t also include quiet, private spaces for employees to retreat to, the set up is likely harming productivity.

That’s according to employee feedback from a recent survey conducted byCornerstone OnDemand, which creates cloud-based talent management applications. The results of the company’s annual productivity report are based on responses from 2,009 American workers, ages 18 and older.

When asked to choose which kinds of communications they found most distracting in the workplace, 43 percent responded that impromptu visits from coworkers interfered with their concentration. The same proportion said that unscheduled phone calls were a big distraction. 

Considering their need to go incognito every now and then, it’s no surprise that many employees–37 percent–think they’d be most productive in an enclosed office. (Of course, just because they say that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t end up watching Netflix all afternoon.)

While only 19 percent of respondents overall prefer an open desk layout, there’s a sharp divergence between Millennials and Baby Boomers. Twenty-two percent of Millennials–who are more familiar with an open desk setup–feel they’re most productive in this environment, versus 16 percent of Boomers.

If enclosed work spaces aren’t an option at your company, allowing employees some quiet time at home could help to minimize the number of office-related interruptions. Sixty-five percent of employees said they think they’d get more done with a flexible and remote work schedule, according to the survey. Only 19 percent are permitted to work remotely.

Cornerstone also asked employees about the intensity of their workloads over the past year. About half of respondents said that the amount of time required to complete their daily assignments has increased over the last 12 months. And sixty-one percent of employees indicated that because they feel overwhelmed and overworked, they believe they’re getting less done.

“Workers say they are feeling overloaded and unproductive, but the bigger question is whether their employers know they’re feeling this way,” Cornerstone OnDemand CEO Adam Miller said in a release. “The survey results emphasize how critical it is for organizations to have a better pulse on their workforce.”  

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