Are You the Reason Why Your Employees Can’t Get Anything Done?

Date: June 16, 2016

Employees reveal their biggest complaints about workplace environments in a new study.

There’s no shortage of office distractions, be it the overly talkative cube mate, the guy with music leaking out of his headphones, or perhaps most egregious of all—the smell of a co-worker’s steamed broccoli. 

So what’s the solution? Well, that all depends on whom you ask: Employers and employees don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to grievances. A new report, however, has some ideas on where to start. 


Below are the key findings from an Oxford Economics survey about office distractions.

1. Employees just want some peace and quiet.

Forget the perks. Employees ranked the ability to focus and work without interruption as their No. 1 priority in a work environment. The percent of respondents who ranked amenities like free food as their highest priority? Zero. Having a space to easily and effectively collaborate is the second-most important priority for employees, followed by the ability to connect their devices anywhere in the office, the survey found. 

2. Few employers think noisy workplaces are an issue.

Despite being a top employee concern, only 39 percent of managers believe loud workspaces hamper employee productivity. There’s a further disconnect when it comes to loud employees, where a mere 33 percent of executives said those individuals affect productivity.   

3. Millennials hate noise.

Perhaps ironically, the generation that grew up with iPhones, iPods, and high-speed internet despises outside distractions at work. They are more likely to leave their desks, listen to music, or take other measures to reduce the noise level around them. Millennials say that blocking out these distractions increases their productivity and brightens their mood. The finding falls in line with another insight from the study—more than 50 percent of respondents said ambient noise reduces their satisfaction at work.

4. Employers aren’t providing the tools to work distraction-free. 

This is one of the biggest disconnects between employers and their workers. Two-thirds of employees are frustrated they don’t have the resources, such as seamless technology, to focus effectively outside of the office. However, 46 percent of executives believe they are providing adequate support to their employees working outside the office.  

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