Some employees would rather work alongside someone who ate noisly than sit next to their boss.
When it comes to workplace productivity, many workers invoke the spirit of Greta Garbo: They want to be alone, according to a new Ask.com study.
Eighty-six percent of respondents to the Office Workplace Productivity study said they prefer to work alone to achieve maximum productivity. This doesn’t necessarily translate into a preference for working at home. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) said they prefer to spend “focus time” in their personal workspace, compared with 29 percent who said they would rather work at home.
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Six-in-ten respondents said that noisy co-workers are the primary distraction hampering workplace productivity, while 40 percent fingered impromptu meetings from coworkers stopping by their workplace. Forty-six said that even thought they sit close to co-workers, they will choose to mostly communicate with them through email, IM or phone.
Meetings are also seen as a workplace productivity killer. Nearly one quarter (24 percent) said they spend more time in meetings talking about work rather than actually doing it.
The “work at home” debate was recently rekindled when Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer barred employees from working offsite (their failure to sign on to their VPN logs was the giveaway that they were slacking off, according to a story in TechWorld). Mayer, in a leaked Yahoo internal memo said that, “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.”
The jury is out how employees feel about working side-by-side. Just over one-fourth (27 percent) said they prefer an “open room” or “newsroom” type workplace setting, the survey found. Millennials were the biggest proponents of this type of workplace setting than their older counterparts (39 percent vs. 18 percent).
And it they do not like working alongside their coworkers, employees like it even less if they have to sit alongside executives. Thirty-eight percent said they would rather sit next to someone who eats loudly or even suffer a longer commute than have to sit next to their boss.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.