Poorly Designed Open Offices Are Sources Of Major Distraction (And Ways To Reduce It)

Open office layouts have been the dominant style for office designers for several years. While the debate continues to rage on about whether they are superior to closed offices (most likely not cease any time soon), a 2005 study examining the effects of office design on workplace distraction caught my eye.

What I appreciate most about this particular study is that it did not take any particular side, but instead identified common sources of distraction in open plan offices and possible solutions through better design.


                Office -McKinsey & Company

Distraction Findings

One statistic found that for “57% of the subjects, combined background noise caused “major deterioration” in their ability to concentrate.” The major sources of distraction were:

  1. continuously ringing telephones

  2. people’s conversations (both face-to-face and telephone)

  3. printers/computer/keyboard noise

  4. outside noise

A second concept identified that employees did not grow accustomed to office noise, but rather reported more disruption the longer they were exposed to it.


Akosha Office 

Distraction Solutions

If you do find yourself or your employees becoming distracted at work  perhaps one of the following solutions from the study will help:

  • Provide quiet areas away from noisy equipment and other people for workers who need to concentrate on tasks that require undisputed attention (e.g., writing, mathematical tasks).


    LinkedIn Office 

  • Incorporate absorption materials and partitioning to make background noises such as voices less distinguishable from one another.

    Mercedes Benz

    Mercedes Benz Office 

  • Choose phones that have adjustable ringtones or that can easily be silenced when unanswered.

  • Don’t put a loud department that is on the phone all day next to developers that are concentrating.


Oracle Office 

  • Encourage communication that will not be a source of distraction for other employees.

    Danske@RMZ-Eco-World_2432Danske Office 


  • Allow employees to listen to music with headphones.

  • Stop watching cat videos 🙂


Source –officesnapshots.com

(The content  belongs to the respective copyright holders and it is only an interest related upload.)





You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply