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The Working Dead: Survey Reveals Biggest Office Productivity Killers

Workplace_Productivity_KillerWhen it comes to office distractions, your employees worst enemies are…also your employees.

According to a new study on workplace productivity, 61 percent of workers say “noisy colleagues” are the number one reason they do not get work done. Additionally, 40 percent say impromptu meetings – as a result of coworkers stopping by their work spaces – as another major office distraction.

The findings are part of a recent Ask.com study that asked 2,060 adults nationwide about their ideal workplace environments. Below are the biggest findings and takeaways from the survey:

  • “Me” time is critical: The vast majority of respondents (86 percent) prefer to work alone to hit maximum productivity; however, team interaction is important as well…
  • Workplace preferences vary by age, gender and lifestyle: Over one quarter of workers (27 percent) prefer an “open room” or “newsroom” setting, with more younger adults (ages 18 to 34) saying they prefer this option than older adults (ages 45 and up). Furthermore, more men than women prefer to work in a cubicle setting (42 percent versus 28 percent), while a larger number of single/never married workers prefer cubicles over their married counterparts (43 percent, compared with 30 percent, respectively).
  • Some workers will do almost anything to avoid their bosses: Over a third of workers (38 percent) would rather do unpleasant activities than sit next to their boss, including opt for more work on their plates, sit next to someone who eats loudly, and take on a longer commute.
  • Work from home? No thanks: Despite complaining of noisy co-workers, most individuals would rather come into the office than work from home, with 63 percent of workers saying they prefer to spend “focus time” in their personal workspace. Only 29 percent of respondents said they preferred to work from home.
  • A little less conversation, a little more action, please: Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of respondents complained of “meeting fatigue”, claiming they spend more time in meetings discussing work than actually doing it.

Of course, these findings do not speak to all companies, but they do provide some interesting insight into the preferences of the American worker in general. If nothing else, this survey serves as a good reminder for managers to make an effort to understand their own employees’ ideal working conditions and help them strike a balance between individual focus time and group collaboration.

Also remember that employees are not always likely to speak up if something (or someone) is distracting them and hindering them from doing their best work. Check in regularly with employees to find out what is – and isn’t – working about their working conditions, and what you can do to create a more productive work environment.

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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