For employers eager to maximise office productivity, getting the business environment right is a key priority.
If workers are comfortable with conditions in the office, the chances are they will find it easier to concentrate and work effectively without distraction.
As such, many employers have invested significant time and money redesigning their offices to create the right ambience.
Many have ditched cubicles in favour of open-plan working areas, while modifications may have been made to the temperature, lighting, ventilation and acoustics.
But as a recent study has shown, employers are facing a new difficulty when it comes to maximising the productivity of their office employees.
Research conducted by the University of California, Berkeley indicated that more than more half of office workers are dissatisfied with the level of ‘speech privacy’ they have while at work.
Noisy colleagues, incessant chatting from other areas of the office and the constant tapping of keyboards is beginning to grate on many members of the global workforce, the study showed.
The researchers questioned some 5,000 people over the past decade in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia, in a bid to establish exactly what makes office workers tick – or explode with rage.
And many, it seems, want to be able to work in an environment where they can hear themselves think, rather than spend all day being distracted by their colleagues.
“In general, people do not like the acoustics in open offices,” said John Goins, the leader of the survey, as reported by the New York Times.
“The noisemakers aren’t so bothered by the lack of privacy, but most people are not happy, and designers are finally starting to pay attention to the problem.”