More than half of Gen Z (55 percent) and Millennials (56 percent) say they want open offices, despite the associated distractions, according to a new study from Future Workplace commissioned by unified communications company Plantronics.
The findings highlight how the four generations at work today think about their workplace environments, including what drives productivity, how they function in the office and how they handle distraction.
“When you consider how many different work styles and different generations are thrown together in one place, it’s no wonder that almost everyone reports being distracted at work,” said Amy Barzdukas, CMO and Executive Vice President of Poly.
People of all ages would love working in offices – if only they didn’t have noisy co-workers. Loud talkers are among the greatest perils of life in the office.
Nearly all (99 percent) employees report they get distracted while working at their personal workspace. More than half say that distractions make it tough to listen or be heard on calls (51 percent) and impact ability to focus (48 percent).
Co-workers are to blame: Seventy-six percent of all employees surveyed said their biggest distraction is a co-worker talking loudly on the phone, and 65 percent say it’s a co-worker talking nearby.
And yet, Gen Z and Millennials still prefer the open office, likely because they say they’re productive in noisy environments and tend to collaborate more than other generations. Half of the workers prefer an open workplace floor plan, and the younger they are, the more they want it – 55 percent of Gen Z and 56 percent of Millennials prefer open offices compared to 47 percent of Gen X and 38 percent of Baby Boomers.
More than half of Gen Z (52 percent) say they are most productive when they were working around noise or talking with others; 60 percent of Baby Boomers say they’re most productive when it’s quiet. Twenty percent of Gen Z spend at least half their day on a telephone, video or multi-party call, while only 7 percent of Baby Boomers do the same.
Research findings are based on a global survey conducted by Savanta across US, Canada, Spain, UK, Germany, France, China, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, and India between March 18th – 26th, 2019.