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Study shows need for variety in workplace design

10 May 2018

Noise and distraction have emerged as the two issues to overcome when designing modern workplaces, according to a recent survey.

Conducted on a global basis and including more than 11,000 workers, the study revealed that complaints about noise have risen since the 2016 survey was completed.

The figure rose from 11% in 2016 to 15% for the following 12 months, with 13% of respondents stating that a lack of quiet areas was also a cause of inefficiency in the workplace.

This supports the view that it is essential to include a number of aspects when designing open-plan working environments to cater for all the requirements of staff.

Lack of privacy was also highlighted by 9%, while 7% of workers said the temperature and air quality within their office impacted on efficiency levels.

The survey was conducted by Unispace and its global director, design Simon Pole said it showed the need to "focus" for more than 60% of workers' time.

While collaborative working continued to be an important aspect delivered by open-plan working environments, workers also required areas to focus and provide calm and solitude, he said.

"Increased noise, a lack of privacy and quiet areas consistently show up as the top three employee complaints in open environments," said Mr Pole.

With 60% of the average working day devoted to individual, task-focused work, the survey showed that 25% involved collaboration, with both learning and socialising accounting for 7%.

Open plan offices now account for 31% of workspaces, followed by cubicle-style environments at 18% and private offices at 13%.

The survey also revealed how workers approach their roles in different ways, with some preferring flexible arrangements, while others are highly mobile and some prefer to be more desk-based.

This further highlights the need for varied and flexible working environments to cater for the needs of all concerned, the company stated.

More information on the survey can be accessed here.

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