Loud talkers and chatterboxes are sucking Canadian workplace productivity

A new survey finds that open concept offices are killing your workplace productivity, and the worst offenders are people who talk too loud and too much. 

Canadians are distracted at work and this is affecting workplace productivity. This is according to a new survey that….hey! What’s that over there?

Sorry. What was I talking about? Oh, right. Distraction and workplace productivity. Anyway…

According to the iQ Offices Productivity at Work Survey, commissioned by co-working company iQ Offices, more than half of Canadians report being distracted at work, which results in up to two hours of lost productivity every day. And you know whose fault it is? Loud talkers and the office chatterbox. You knew it, right?

“It’s easy to get distracted”

Of the approximately 1,500 people surveyed, 57% agree that “it’s easy to get distracted in my workplace.” Those under age 35 are most distracted, at 68%.

Asked to identify the biggest productivity suckers, 54% pointed towards loud talkers and “talk-a-holic” colleagues. “Noisy recreation areas” within workspaces and a “distracting open concept work environment” both came in second place at 49%. This was followed by “unassigned workspaces where I don’t have a permanent desk or office,” with 43% of people citing this as a key issue.

Meetings ranked surprisingly low

Perhaps surprisingly, meetings only came in fourth place. This despite the fact that many people often cite meetings as a prime waste of time in their workday. Meetings were only listed as the top productivity drain by just 38% of people.

Natural light and privacy increase productivity

Canadians also list a conveniently-located workplace, the ability to work remotely, an attractively-designed workspace with natural light, and privacy at work, as critical to helping them reach optimal productivity.

Canadians would take a pay cut to work in a place designed for productivity

How much does all this matter to Canadian workers? A fair bit, actually.

About two thirds (64%) of respondents said they would take “slightly less money to work in a conveniently-located… beautiful workspace designed for productivity and employee satisfaction.”

Thirty five per cent of people figured they could gain about two hours of productivity a day if they worked in an environment designed to enhance productivity and another 38% estimated they could gain about an hour.

Don’t be the productivity sucker

It’s important for workers to be aware of their impact on people around them. If you’re the person who is forever chatting away and interrupting colleagues when they’re trying to work, you should probably stop doing that. The same goes for if you’re the person with the super loud voice that resonates through the office.  The problem here is that people don’t know if they’re being annoying. Because if they did, most would probably change their behaviour.

The best thing you can do is pay attention to the faces and reactions of the people around you, and watch for signs of irritation. And keep your voice down. Try lowering it a notch, and if nobody asks you to speak up, you’re talking loud enough.

What to do to be more productive in a difficult work environment?

What can you do to work smarter and better if you work in an office with lots of distractions?

Wearing headphones and listening to music without lyrics (lyrics can be distracting) is one recommended way to deal. People often won’t bother you if you’re wearing headphones. You can also go work in a nearby coffee shop of explore remote work options, if this is allowed. If you have your own desk, put a plant on it – plants apparently improve mood and productivity. And you can also put up a kindly worded sign that says something like, “Do not disturb – I’m focusing right now,” in your workspace.

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